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County boards of education serve a unique role in California’s K-12 public education system. Although they fulfill similar roles as the boards and superintendents of local school districts, some critical differences in the governance of county offices of education stem from both statutory and local county decisions about county office structures.

The relationship between the county board and the county superintendent and many duties, functions, programs, and services vary from county to county. Some general responsibilities of the county board of education are described in the law. Still, the law often needs to be more precise in defining the roles of the board and superintendent.

Effective governance requires a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the county board and county superintendent. A more productive working relationship occurs when the county board and superintendent work together as a leadership governance team.

To fulfill these responsibilities, boards and superintendents must strive to maintain a climate of trust with no hidden agendas, understand and respect the provisions of the law and each other’s roles and responsibilities, and have strong communication and agreement about the fundamental mission of the county office.

Below are resources you can use to jump-start your learning on effective county board governance as a new board member and is also helpful for review for veteran county board members.

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