Frequently Asked Questions about DDESS School Boards

Do DDESS school board members ever participate in deciding matters affecting employees or students?

Employee relations and student conduct are almost always matters handled by the Superintendent, principals, and administrative staff. If, for some reason, school board participation is required, the Superintendent will explain the applicable rules.

Do DDESS school boards have the same authority as school boards for local education agencies?

No, generally the school board for a local education agency (LEA) makes the policy and rules for schools in that particular school district; the Superintendent and staff implement the school board’s policy. DDESS school boards act in an advisory capacity, providing input to the Superintendent and administrators in the areas of fiscal, personnel and educational policies, procedures and programs. The DDESS school district superintendent makes final decisions on matters affecting the school district.

Why can't DDESS school boards make the rules which govern a particular DDESS school district?

The statute which authorizes DDESS and the implementing DoD guidance define the roles of the DDESS school boards. Also, because DDESS school board members are not officers or employees of the United States as defined in the “appointments clause” of the Constitution, they may not exercise discretionary governmental authority such as: taking personnel actions, expending appropriated funds, or establishing governmental policies.

What happens if the school board disagrees with how the Superintendent wants to handle a particular issue?

The Superintendent and the school board should always attempt to find common ground on all issues. However, DDESS Superintendents are ultimately responsible for operation of the school district. In rare instances, a Superintendent may find it necessary to take an action with which the school board might not agree. The Superintendent should then provide the school board with the rationale for that action. If necessary, either the Superintendent or the school board may ask for the assistance of the Director, DDESS and DoDDS Cuba.

Is training available for new school board members?

Yes, all school board members receive training so that they may better understand the rules which govern the operation of the school board.

DDESS School Boards

For almost 200 years, DDESS (and its predecessor organizations) has been helping to educate the children of eligible military and federal civilian employees at designated military installations in the United States, including Puerto Rico and Guam. Throughout this time, DDESS school boards have provided valuable assistance to DDESS administrators by helping to maintain the best possible learning environment in our schools.

If DDESS is to continue our fine tradition of excellence in education we will need the help of energetic, willing volunteers who seek election to our DDESS schools boards.

The following information is designed to briefly explain the guidelines governing DDESS school boards, how to become a school board member, and what will be expected of members once they are elected. Please read the information carefully, and then discuss any questions you may have with any DDESS administrator in your school district.

Being a DDESS school board member is a serious responsibility but one that offers significant rewards – the primary reward being the opportunity to actively participate in the process of educating our children.

Guidelines Governing DDESS School Boards

DDESS and DoDDS are organizationally aligned under the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). DoDEA is a DoD field activity operating under the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy. DDESS is headed by a Director located at the DDESS Area Service Center in Peachtree City, GA.

10 United States Code §2164(d) requires the Secretary of Defense to provide for the establishment of school boards for DDESS.   Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1342.25 provides detailed guidance for the operation of DDESS school boards.

How to Become a DDESS School Board Member

Any person who resides on a military installation where a DDESS school is located may seek election to a DDESS school board. In Puerto Rico or Guam, a school board candidate must have a child attending a DDESS school.  However, a person who is employed by DDESS or that has a financial interest with a company that does business with the school system may not serve as a school board member.

A person who wishes to run for the school board may either be nominated by at least one member of the electorate (i.e., a parent of a DDESS student) or a member of the electorate may nominate and vote for a person as a write-in candidate on the day of the election.

Due to the requirement that Congress and the Department of Defense have established for school boards, the local District Superintendent and school board are responsible for establishing the rules applicable to nomination and election of school board members. Contact a local school administrator or the school district office to obtain the specific rules applicable to your school district.

School Board Member Expectations

School board members are expected to attend all open and executive session school board meetings. School board members:

  • Participate in the development and oversight of fiscal, personnel, and educational policies, procedures, and programs.
  • Prepare an annual written on-site review of the Superintendent’s performance for consideration by the Superintendent's supervisor.
  • Provide counsel to the Superintendent on the operation of the school and the implementation of the approved budget.
  • Participate in the development of school policies, rules, and regulations, in conjunction with the Superintendent, and recommend which policies shall be reflected in the School Policy Manual.

See the full instruction: Department of Defense Instruction 1342.25.