School Boards

From Ohio History Central
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In Ohio, school boards oversee public school districts. Eligible voters within a school district elect members of the community to the school board. The school board is ultimately responsible for the district’s finances. It also oversees the hiring and firing of school employees, helps the district raise funds through donations and school levies, assists in establishing curriculum, serves as an intermediary with state and federal officials, and addresses parents’ and students’ concerns.

School boards first formed in Ohio in 1825, when the Ohio government established public education in the state. To comply with state requirements, communities established school districts to create public schools for their children. To oversee the schools, communities created school boards. For example, in 1829, Cincinnati, Ohio, established “The Board of Trustees and Visitors” to oversee its school district. Each political ward of Cincinnati had one elected member serving on the board. For the first two decades of public education in Cincinnati, there was no superintendent. This changed in 1850 with a new state law requiring the election of a superintendent for each school district in Ohio. The superintendent became responsible for overseeing the everyday affairs of the school districts, although ultimate authority over the schools remained with the school boards.

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