Duhaime's Law Dictionary

School Board Definition:

An elected body corporate which manages delegated powers in regards to the delivery of education services within a defined territory.

Related Terms: School

A body corporate to which, in defined territories, is delegated the constitutional mandate in regards to education, and which is usually comprised of elected trustees (sometimes called members); said board, like other bodies corporate, with the power to sue and be sued and to own and manage real property.

In Town of Cheshire v McKenney, Justice Arthur Healey of the Supreme Court of Connecticut wrote:

"The town board of education is an agent of the state.... (T)he furnishing of an education for the public is a state function and duty. This duty is placed upon the state by ... the state constitution and is delegated to local school boards by state statute. There is no question but that local boards of education act as agencies of the state when they are fulfilling the statutory duties imposed upon them pursuant to the constitutional mandate....

"Local boards of education are also agents of the municipality that they serve, however. This court has recognized that the state, in the exercise of its policy to maintain good public schools, has delegated important duties in that field to the towns...."

school boardOr in, these words of Justice Underwood of the Supreme Court of Illinois in Cronin v Lindberg:
"Boards of education and school districts are governmental agencies created by the legislature and subject to its will."

Anthony Brown wrote, in special reference to the province of Ontario, Canada, but in language which remains generally faithful to the legal status of school boards generally:

"Under the Canadian Constitution, the provinces have exclusive jurisdiction over education. Local school boards exercise powers delegated to them by the province.

"A school board is a corporation.

"A board exists separate and apart from the people elected locally as trustees, who are responsible for governance. A board is a form of local government....

"School boards exist in order to operate schools within their jurisdiction...

"A board has the powers that are either set out expressly in legislation or regulation, or that are necessarily incidental to the exercise of the legislated powers...."


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