Issued Date: 08/26/10
The Constitution of the State of Tennessee charges the State with the responsibility of maintaining a system of "free public schools" for all children in Tennessee. The state legislature fulfills this responsibility by enacting laws to regulate the schools, providing a portion of the funds needed for operating the schools, and delegating the immediate control of the schools to the boards of education.
Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, there shall be a board of education elected by the people.
The School Board, therefore, is an agency of the State with powers delegated to it by the legislature by clear inference. It is responsible for carrying out certain mandatory laws and shall consider and accept or reject the provisions of the permissive laws. In all cases where the state laws do not provide or prohibit, the Board shall consider itself the agent establishing and appraising educational activities of the system and responsive to the desires of the majority of the citizens of the county.
Because all powers of the Board of Education lie in its action as a group, individual Board members exercise their authority over school affairs only as they vote to take action at a legal meeting of the Board.
In other instances, an individual Board member, including the chairman, shall have power only when the Board, by vote, has delegated authority to him or her. It shall be the policy of the Board to make its members, the educational staff and the public aware that only the Board as an official body has authority to take official action. The Superintendent is required to report to the Board any instances where an individual Board member demands of or exerts undue influence on the Superintendent or any employee of the system to take a particular action.
T.C.A. § 49-2-201