County Boards of Education

The majority of California’s county offices of education are governed by a locally elected county board of education and operated by a locally elected county superintendent. County board members serve as a link between the community and the county office of education and its superintendent. CCBE serves county boards of education by providing resources that help board members and superintendents work as effective governance teams, and by advocating on behalf of the needs and realities of each county office. Download the About California county boards of education handout in English or in Spanish to learn more about the role of county boards.

Primary responsibilities of county boards
  • Adopt rules and regulations for the board’s own governance and keep a recording of their proceedings
  • Adopt the annual budget of the county superintendent before its submission to the county board of supervisors
  • Approve the salary of the county superintendent 
  • Establish and oversee county charter schools
  • Review interim financial reports and the annual audit report of the county superintendent 
  • Hold public hearing and adopt Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs)
  • Serve as an appellate body for student expulsions and interdistrict transfers
  • Approve the annual county school service fund budget of the county superintendent before its submission to the Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Review the county superintendent of schools annual itemized estimate of anticipated revenue and expenditures before it is filed with the county auditor
  • Adopt courses of study for juvenile court schools, county community schools, ROC/Ps and evaluate program effectiveness
  • Adopt rules and regulations governing the administration of the office of the county superintendent 
  • Acquire, lease, lease-purchase, hold and convey real property
  • Educate specific student populations (special education, disenfranchised youth, etc.)
Programs and services generally overseen by county offices of education
  • Special education
  • Community schools
  • Juvenile court schools
  • Regional occupational centers and programs
  • Direct services to school districts
  • Fiscal oversight of districts
  • Appeals of district actions related to student and school matters
  • Charter schools
Because each county board has a large number of elected voters, board members can play an influential and powerful advocacy role to help meet the needs of COEs, public education and students throughout the state. Locally elected county superintendents and county boards of education are members of the community and are directly involved with their districts.

Quick facts about county boards of education
  • California has 58 county offices of education
  • 334 county board members are elected; seven are appointed
  • 53 county superintendents are elected; five are appointed
  • In four charter counties — Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Clara— the county superintendent is appointed by the county board of education. In Los Angeles, the county board of supervisors appoints the county superintendent of schools and the county board of education
  • There are seven single-district counties in California: Alpine, Amador, Del Norte, Mariposa, Plumas, San Francisco and Sierra
  • Most county offices of education are fiscally independent of the county board of supervisors. Only three counties are fiscally dependent: Alpine, San Benito, San Bernardino.

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