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Beliefs of Indiana superintendents and board presidents in selective school governance decision making: Perceptions of board member influence

Purdue University
Publication Date
  • Education
  • Administration


A survey instrument consisting of five governance scenarios with four possible response choices having six Likert-like responses to each scenario response was sent to all public school superintendents and board presidents in Indiana. The Likert-like response choices ranged from Very Highly Likely to Very Highly Unlikely. The scenarios were constructed to target governance domains of student services, special interest groups, personnel, school programs and facility improvement. One of the four response choices to each scenario was constructed as a micromanagement response. The return rate from superintendents was 68.2 percent and 60.3 percent from board presidents. The purpose of the study was to determine the beliefs of Indiana public school superintendents about how school board presidents should respond to the five school governance scenarios. School board presidents were asked to indicate their response choices to the same scenarios. Evaluations were made to determine if there were measurable differences between what superintendents believed should be the responses of board presidents and the actual responses of board presidents. In addition, board presidents and superintendents were asked to select a response choice they believed would be made by a majority of their current board members. The following conclusions were reached: (1) For each of the identified school governance domains, there were no significant differences between the beliefs of superintendents in how board presidents should respond and how board presidents actually did respond. Agreement percentages ranged from 82 to 99 percent; (2) There were no significant differences between the responses of superintendents and board presidents as to how they believed a majority of their current board members would respond to the governance scenarios. Agreement percentages for that comparison ranged from 72 to 97 percent; and (3) There were no significant differences between superintendent and board president responses to the identified micromanagement response choices. In general, for all five governance scenarios presented in the survey, Indiana superintendents do not believe board presidents should choose a response as ‘likely’ when the response is a micromanagement response and board presidents were even less likely to choose the micromanagement response as their ‘likely’ choice. ^

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