Role of the BOE
The Board of Education is an elected, unpaid group of nine citizens who serve three-year terms, with three seats subject to election each year.
Contrary to popular belief, the Board does not run the Lawrence Township Public Schools District – that is the job of the Superintendent. The Board’s role is to ensure that the district is well run through the creation and updating of policies. These policies serve as a guide to the Superintendent and provide direction, a basis for decision-making, and an imperative for action. In addition to setting policy, the Board oversees the budget; approves the curriculum; hires and evaluates the Superintendent; represents the public during contract negotiations; and serves as a communications link between the community and the school system.
As individuals, Board members cannot make decisions for the Board, take actions for the Board, or speak for the Board, unless the Board has authorized them to do so. Board members are sworn to abide by the New Jersey Code of Ethics for School Board Members.
The Board functions by committee to review staff and administrator recommendations on district operation, budget development, facilities maintenance, curriculum development, etc. The Lawrence Township Board operates with five standing committees: Finance and Facilities; Personnel; Community Relations and Legislative Affairs; Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment and Development; and Negotiations. These committees consist of four board members each and a district administrator liaison. At committee meetings, committees review their action items on which the Board takes action by voting at Board of Education meetings. Occasionally, due to time constraints or an urgent need, the Board will act without committee review.
The Lawrence Township Board welcomes hearing your concerns, and suggests the following guidelines to resolve them:
- If you have an issue concerning your child's class or teacher, first contact the classroom teacher.
- From there, you should contact the building principal if the matter has not been resolved to your satisfaction after speaking with the teacher.
- If you cannot come to a resolution at the building level or if you have a district-wide concern, you should contact the Superintendent.
Individual matters are generally referred to the Board only after the above channels are exhausted. The Board is charged with decisions related to policy matters and most matters which do not have policy implications will generally be decided at the building level in collaboration with the central office staff.
When hearing concerns on issues affecting the district as a whole, Board members function as policymakers. They place these concerns on a meeting agenda for discussion by the entire Board or a Board committee. The discussions can result in new or revised district policies.
The Board is responsible for ensuring that the Lawrence Township Public Schools District provides its students the best education the community can afford. Board members have a responsibility not only to listen to all citizens but also to make sure those with a special point of view understand the needs of the school system as a whole. Above all, the Board is responsible for, and to, the students in Lawrence Township Public Schools.