Board chair's authority

A description of the board chair's authority.

Board secretary

The board secretary provides the board with accurate records of meeting minutes, handles board correspondence, and posts all meetings.

Choosing the chair

The selection of the board chair is made no later than the next regular meeting following July 1 each year.

Communication with the board and public

The primary role of the chair, other than to run meetings, is to be the voice of the board.

Conducting board meetings

The most important role of the board chair is conducting the meeting.

Executive sessions

A board may be called to meet in executive session or decide to go into executive session at any time during a regular, special or emergency meeting to discuss certain matters. By Oregon law, the chair may call a board into executive session without a vote of the board; however, in some districts, local policy may require such a vote.

Whenever an executive session is called, the presiding officer must identify the section and subsection of ORS 192.660 (listed reasons) or 332.061 (expulsion or medical records of a minor student) that authorize the executive session's purpose.

Boards may not meet in executive session to conduct the following business:

  • Fill a vacancy in an elective office
  • Fill a vacancy on any public committee, commission or other advisory group
  • Consider general employment policies
  • Discuss an employee's performance, unless that employee has been notified and has been given the option of having the discussion held in public
  • Hire the superintendent or any other employee if the vacancy has not been advertised, hiring procedures have not been adopted by the board, and there has been no opportunity for public input about the hiring

Purposes for which executive session may be called:

  • To consider the employment of a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent. (ORS 192.660(2)(a))
  • To consider the dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or agent, unless he or she requests an open meeting. (ORS 192.660(2)(b))
  • To conduct deliberations with persons designated to carry on labor negotiations. (ORS 192.660(2)(d))
  • To conduct deliberations to negotiate real property transactions. (ORS 192.660(2)(e))
  • To consider records exempt by law from public inspection. (ORS 192.660(2)(f))
  • To consult with counsel concerning current or possible litigation. (ORS 192.660(2)(h))
  • To review and evaluate the performance of the superintendent or any other public officer, employee or staff member, unless that person requests an open hearing. (ORS 192.660(2)(i))
  • To consider matters relating to school safety or a plan that responds to safety threats made toward a school. (ORS 192.660(k))
  • Conduct a hearing on the expulsion of a student or to review a student's confidential medical records. (ORS 332.061(1))

If you have questions about the state’s public meetings laws and other state statutes dealing with the meetings of public officials, call OSBA. Further information on executive session is available in OSBA's Public Meetings Law, Board Meetings and Executive Sessions.

Facility improvements and sustainability concepts

Webinar training provided on facility improvements and sustainability concepts.

Freedom of information laws

Oregon’s Public Meetings Laws govern what materials must be made available to the public and which may be withheld.

Handling board correspondence

Letters sent to the board of education through the board chair should be shared with other board members.

Personal qualities of a board chair

Leadership is an acquired art, not something that comes naturally to all people.

Public hearings

The board will hold public hearings as required by law.

Sharing a common vision

The board chair should work to keep the board focused on the school district's vision.

Surviving tough times webinar

Link to a recording of OSBA's webinar on surviving tough times.

The board chair and first amendment

When the board chair speaks to an issue, the public and the media assume that the chair’s statement is the opinion of the entire board of education.

The board meeting agenda

The agenda, prepared by the board chair and the superintendent, is the most important document at any board meeting.

Voting requirements

A majority of the members of the board (a quorum) must be present to legally conduct business.

When you're in charge as the board chair...

As a new board chair, you suddenly find that you are making decisions, and that 'basic rule' is less defined.