Governance boundaries

This, from the Seattle Times:

Just days before Seattle school Superintendent José Banda interviewed with the Sacramento School Board for its top job, he sent a blistering email to his own board members about their treatment of his staff over the selection of new elementary-school math textbooks.

While the Seattle school board has the legal authority to approve or reject textbooks, it lacks the competency to make such a determination, which lies with the superintendent and his/her staff. The textbook adoption decision should never have come before the board. That it did, speaks volumes about the inherent problems afflicting the school district and, I dare say, most, if not all, school districts.

Consider this parallel. What would we say if the Snohomish County PUD board of commissioners overruled the general manager’s selection of utility construction standards? The board certainly has the authority to do so, but it clearly has no expertise in utility equipment or how they should be installed.

In the linked article above, we get a glimpse of how boards and managers should function:

Marysville board Vice President Chris Nation, who also has served as president, said his board built a strong relationship with [ former Marysville superintendent and now interim Seattle superintendent Larry] Nyland and his senior staff by agreeing on clear roles and responsibilities for everyone right from the beginning.

That’s what the SnoPUD board and general manager did years ago.

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