Conflicts of Interest and School Boards
Charles K. Trainor
Public service presents us with an opportunity to give back to our community. The rewards realized by making a difference in the lives of others cannot be quantified in dollars and can only be truly appreciated by those who have participated. School board service is such an experience.
Most board members are elected officials serving with little or no financial compensation. Bearing tremendous responsibility, they are empowered by taxpayers to guide the education of the community’s children. In addition to policy and curriculum issues, board members are responsible for the business and financial well-being of the district.
Along with these responsibilities comes the implicit trust the community bestows on board members when they take their oath of office. School boards are expected to maintain the highest ethical standards in all matters, public and private.
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 14,200 public school districts nationwide are expected to spend $519 billion this school year. The average expenditure per student will be $10,418. When managing such large amounts of money, board members and administrators may be confronted with situations creating conflict of interest.
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