Inside Background

Frequently Asked Questions

School Boards 101
For more information on school boards in Pennsylvania, please go to the website below: 

What is the Board of Education?

The New Kensington-Arnold Board of Education is a 9-member elected body selected from three voting regions. Members are elected for four-year terms and every two years on a rotating basis, either four or five of the seats are open for election. Five seats are open in the 2011 election. Two in Region I, two in Region II and one in Region III.  The Board of Directors  adopt policy for the daily operation of the school.


Who can attend a board meeting?

All board meetings and committee of the Whole meetings are public meetings. All meetings are advertised in the Valley Dispatch in December for the year and are listed on the website. Meetings that were not scheduled or change throughout the course of the year are advertised in the Valley Daily Dispatch and are listed on the website.


When are executive sessions held?

All meetings of the school board are open to the public, except when specific notice is given for an executive session.  Such executive sessions are to be limited to discussion of the following:


  • Matters affecting school security;
  • Preliminary discussions on the selection, acquisition, or disposition of real property;
  • Personnel matters, such as the appointment, employment, or dismissal of employees, or to hear complaints or charges against an employee;
  • Negotiations tactics / parameters;
  • Pending litigation; and
  • Quasi-judicial proceedings, such as employment appeals or student discipline appeals.

When and where are board meetings held?

The Regular Board meetings are typically held on the first Tuesday of every month, at 7:00 p.m. in the Board of Directors Room located at 703 Stevenson Blvd. in the high school. Board meetings are listed on this website board tab and on the website calendar.


How long do most meetings last?

School Board meetings vary in length, with most averaging about two hours.  When discussing personnel, disciplinary or other confidential matters, the Board will move into executive session.


Where can I find a copy of meeting minutes?

Meeting minutes are posted on the district website after approval of the Board and can be obtained from the Board Secretary at the Central Administration building.


When/How may I address the board?

Any citizen may address the Board at any regular meeting during the designated period.  There are two Audience sessions for speaking at board meeting. The first audience portion is to discuss items that appear on the agenda. The second audience portion is for discussion of any topic the citizen may have. Persons wishing to appear before the School Board are requested to complete a form available by the entrance, although not required to do one. Forms given to the Board Secretary will be permitted to address the board in the order of requests received. All those not filling out a request will be able to speak after those audience members are finished. The board allows three minutes for initial question with follow up questions.


What is proper Board Meeting etiquette?  

 Audience members are requested to turn off cell phones and to leave the room to carry on conversations. Unruly audience members will be asked to leave. Meetings are conducted with respect for all members of the Board, employees and audience.


What are the main responsibilities of Board of Education members?

School board members have no power or authority except that which results from participation in decisions and actions of the board in an official session.  Actions or commitments by individual board members are without legal basis and have no binding commitment upon the district.


What is the relationship between board members and employees?

The board is responsible for adopting policies, rules, and regulations that define the responsibilities of employees and for approving all employment contracts.  Individually, board members should treat employees in the same way they treat any other citizen of the district.


Where do school districts get their money?

Most districts derive the major portion of their revenue from local tax levies, with varying levels of aid received from the state.  Most districts also receive some revenue through special programs funded by the state and the federal government.  Boards are governed in the amount of revenue they may raise through taxes by a “cap” set by the State. 


Who decides how this money is spent?

A district’s budget is the means to translate board goals into action, so the board should discuss implications of program needs and set parameters for budget development.  The superintendent then works with other staff members to draft a budget that attempts to actualize these board goals, student needs, complies with state laws and regulations, and stays within available district financial resources.  Once the board approves the budget, the superintendent is responsible for administering and living within its limits and for seeking board approval of expenditures. 


Who should I talk to when I have an issue or problem?


Teacher: The teacher is responsible for the day-to-day education of students


Principal: The principal is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school within the school system


Superintendent: The Superintendent translates policies that are defined by the Board of Education into actions.  He/she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school system.


Board of Education: The Board of Education ensures that the school system is run effectively.


The function of the school board is not to run the schools but to see that they are run effectively.  The superintendent is the person chosen to translate the will of the board into administrative action.  Teamwork and cooperation between the board and superintendent are essential.