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County boards of education serve a special role in California’s K-12 public education system. Although they fulfill similar roles as the boards and superintendents of local school districts, there are some important differences in the governance of county offices of education that stem from both statutory and local county decisions about county office structures.

The relationship between the county board and the county superintendent and many of the duties, functions, programs and services vary from county to county.  Some general duties of the county board of education are described in law but often the law is unclear in defining the respective roles of the board and superintendent.

Effective governance requires a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the county board and county superintendent. A more productive working relationship occurs when the county board and the county superintendent work together as a leadership governance team.

To fulfill these responsibilities, boards and superintendent must strive to maintain a climate of trust with no hidden agendas, understand and respect the provisions of the law and each other’s roles and responsibilities and have strong communication and agreement about the basic mission of the county office.

Below are resources you can use to jump-start your learning on effective county board governance as a new board member and is also useful for review for veteran county board members.

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