Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

David E. Bartz


A field study involving the development of a handbook for beginning school board members, by the writer, under the direction of Dr. Matzner of the Eastern Illinois University Department of School Service Personnel, is summarized in this paper. A handbook for beginning school board members was developed to assist them in the difficult areas of school operations as designated by board members now serving school districts in central Illinois.

The field study involved gathering information from boards of education on the problems they encountered as beginning school board members. The problems were categorized into major topics and a handbook was developed discussing pertinent information for a new board member on each topic.

The author gathered information for the individual topics based on his sixteen years of personal experiences in public education as a teacher and administrator. School board members, superintendents, and instructional staff were used as resource persons to give a wide spectrum of opinion as to the knowledge needed to function efficiently as a school board member. The library served as a valuable resource since much has been written in recent years on the duties, powers, and responsibilities of school board members.

The largest part of the paper is the actual handbook. The topics addressed are duties, powers, and responsibilities of school board members, revenue, employment practices for the district's staff, evaluation, collective bargaining, federal funded programs, expenditures, curriculum, and budget. The topics are presented in such a manner that the average layperson in the community would be able to understand the material.

The writer includes recommended materials from the National School Boards Association and the Illinois School Boards Association as a supplement on the various topics. Tables, charts, and data were selected for use, by the writer, from the Illinois State Board of Education.

The handbook prepared is an attempt to present items which school board members designated as being important when they were first elected to the board of education. The information should serve only as a starting point for new board members and should not be intended to serve as a comprehensive guide for all board members.