Many parents are aware that their school district has a school board comprised of members known as trustees, but that is often where their knowledge of trustees ends. Simply put, trustees are elected representatives and advocates for the school district. According to the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), a school board’s role is to oversee the management of the district but not to manage the district. By working closely with parents, teachers and administrators, trustees strive to create an environment where every student can thrive.

The Austin Independent School District (AISD) has nine board members elected by popular vote to four-year terms. These trustees serve staggered terms so that the entire board is never up for election at the same time. Seven of the trustees are single-district representatives, which means they represent a specific area, while the remaining two members represent the district as a whole. Trustees do not receive compensation for their services.

Who can be a trustee?

Anyone who meets the following criteria is eligible to be a school board trustee:

  • is a United States citizen
  • is 18 years of age or older on the first day of his or her term
  • has not been determined by a final judgment of a court to be totally or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote
  • has not been convicted of a felony from which he or she has not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities
  • has resided continuously in the state for 12 months and in the territory from which the office is elected for six months
  • is registered to vote in the territory from which the office is elected
  • satisfies any other eligibility requirements prescribed by law
  • has not been convicted of a felony or solicitation of prostitution

Board member positions are not meant to be political, and candidates do not run on a political platform. The job of the school board is to come to a consensus. A majority vote is required to pass any resolution, so trustees must talk about, work on and collaborate on issues until at least a majority of the board members agree. It should be noted that most trustees choose to serve for altruistic reasons – to do the best thing for the students, staff and community in their district.

What are the responsibilities of a trustee?

Local school board members are tasked with:

  • adopting goals and priorities for the district
  • ensuring that systems and processes are in place to accomplish those goals
  • monitoring the district’s progress toward its goals
  • adopting policies and reviewing them for effectiveness
  • hiring and evaluating the superintendent
  • adopting a budget and setting a tax rate
  • communicating with the community

Beyond the above tasks, board members are active on committees, attend a variety of school and community functions, and participate in numerous trainings. Many board members dedicate 20 or more hours per week to their duties.

How can parents engage with a school board?

Community input is vital to the health of a district and parental engagement is welcomed and encouraged. In accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, meetings must be open to the general public, however, some meetings (or parts of meetings) that contain sensitive information, such as personnel or legal matters, may be closed out of necessity.

To share comments and opinions with the board, AISD parents and other community members can email the board directly at or fill out a contact form on the AISD website. They are also welcome to attend meetings to offer comments or testimony in person. The AISD Board of Trustees holds information sessions on the second Thursday of the month and regular voting meetings on the fourth Thursday, except during May, July, November and December.

School boards play a crucial role in shaping the educational landscape of our communities. By staying informed, participating in school board meetings, and voting in school board elections, parents can contribute to the positive development of their child’s school.


Alisn Bogle is a writer living in Austin with her husband and three children. A former fourth grade teacher, she now enjoys writing about children and education. You can also catch her talking about articles from Austin Family magazine each Thursday morning on FOX 7 Austin.

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