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School Board FAQ

What is the job of our School Board Directors?  

Maine’s Constitution requires the state legislature to pass education laws directing towns to maintain public schools. Maine state law requires locally elected School Boards to manage those schools in accordance with the powers and duties established by the Maine legislature, making them an agent of the state. School Board Directors’ legal duties include: (1) familiarizing themselves with federal and state education law and acting in accordance with those laws, (2) adopting broad educational policy for the school administration to enforce, (3) supervising the administration’s construction, renovation, and maintenance of district facilities, (4) selecting and evaluating the Superintendent, (5) supervising district financial and recordkeeping practices and recommending a budget to be voted on by town residents, (4) negotiating employee contracts and bargaining with any employee unions, (6) approving the selection of administrators and teachers, (7) holding quasi-judicial hearings on issues like student expulsion or employee dismissal, (8) adopting a student code of conduct in collaboration with teachers, administrators, and the community, (9) annually approving a comprehensive health and safety and emergency management plan, (10) supervising the selection of curricula and educational materials, (11)  providing the opportunity for public comment on education matters at Board meetings, and (12) initially referring all questions, requests, and complaints to the Superintendent for resolution. See Policy BBA (School Board Powers and Responsibilities) and BB (School Board Legal Status).


What is the difference between the School Board Chair and our other School Board Directors? 

All School Board Directors, including the Board Chair, have the same right to offer motions, discuss questions, and vote on motions at Board meetings. The vote of the Board Chair receives the same weight as that of every other Board Director for purposes of determining the passage of a motion. The Board Chair’s role differs from that of other Board Directors in the following respects: the Chair (1) plans Board meeting agendas in consultation with the Superintendent and Board Vice-Chair, (2) confers with the Superintendent on crucial matters occurring between Board meetings, (3) appoints Board subcommittees, (4) is a member of all standing committees, (5) calls special meetings of the Board, (6) is the public spokesperson for the Board unless delegated to others, and (7) runs Board meetings. See Policy BDB (Board Officers).


What is the job of our Superintendent?  

The Superintendent is the professional educational leader of the district who has overarching responsibility for managing its schools. This includes their physical operation, educational program, and evaluation of employee performance. The Superintendent also functions as the chief executive officer and Secretary of the School Board. They have the right to attend all Board meetings unless otherwise required by law. At those meetings, they can offer their perspective on all issues but can’t vote on Board motions. They are required to keep the Board informed about the district’s operations and are charged with ensuring that the district operates in accordance with (i) state law and (ii) the policies and written goals and objectives set by the Board. They can enact detailed written practices to ensure this takes place.  They have the right to take action in an emergency or in instances not addressed by existing Board policy, provided they subsequently obtain Board approval for this action. They must establish a system for addressing all public questions, suggestions, and complaints and will only bring these issues to the Board’s attention if this process has not resolved the issue. If they delegate their managerial responsibilities to other administrative directors, they remain responsible for those administrators’ actions.  See CB (General Duties of the Superintendent) and BDD (Board-Superintendent Relationship).


How many School Board Directors do each of our 3 towns elect? How long do they serve? 

The School Board is always composed of 12 Directors: 6 elected by Kennebunk voters, 3 elected by Kennebunkport voters, and 3 elected by Arundel voters. Each Director serves a 3-year term. These terms are staggered so that in each year, the terms of the following Directors expire and must be replaced by the voters: 2 elected by Kennebunk, 1 elected by Kennebunkport, and 1 elected by Arundel. Following their election on the second Tuesday in June (“Municipal Election Day”), new Directors begin their term of office on July 1st and end their term three years later on June 30th unless their term is cut short by (i) vacancy due to change of residence from the municipality from which they were elected, death, or resignation, (ii) vacancy due to absenteeism, or (iii) a lawful recall election. Click for a link to a chart listing the current Directors, the town whose voters elected them, and the year their term is due to expire. See BB (School Board Legal Status), BBBDA (Board-Declared Vacancy Caused by Absenteeism), and BBBE (Unexpired Term Fulfillment/Vacancies). See also Sects. 5, 12, and 14 of the Arundel Charter 

Art. II, III, and VII of the Kennebunk Charter

Kennebunkport Administrative Code (which defers to state law on these issues)


Who are our current School Board Directors?

Click for a link to a chart listing the current Directors.


Why is our District called a Regional School District instead of a Municipal School District?

Regional School Unit districts (“RSUs”) were created by Maine law in 2007 to improve public educational opportunities for K-12 students throughout the state and reduce costs by consolidating single-town Municipal School Unit districts (“MSUs”) into multi-town districts. RSU21 was formed in 7/2009 through the consolidation of the MSUs for Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, and Arundel under a reorganization plan that governs the sharing of educational costs among the 3 towns (the “RSU21 Reorganization Plan”).  RSU21, like all RSUs, is (i) governed by a single school board, composed of directors elected by voters from each of the 3 towns, (ii) administered by a single superintendent, and (iii) financed pursuant to a single budget approved by a majority vote of residents of the 3 towns at a district budget meeting, followed by approval via a referendum vote during the 3 towns’ annual municipal elections on Municipal Election Day.  See 20-A MRSA ch. 103(a).  


What are the requirements for being a candidate for School Board Director?

In order to run for the School Board, candidates must (i) be at least 18 years old, (ii) a US citizen, (iii) a Maine resident, and (iv) a qualified voter in the town by which they are elected. In addition, to prevent conflicts of interest, candidates can’t be an employee, or have a spouse who’s an employee, in any school in the district and can’t hold appointed office in the town by which they’re elected. In general, the process for becoming a School Board candidate is the same as that for becoming a Select Board candidate in the town in which you’re elected. Prior to Municipal Election Day, School Board Director candidates have an opportunity to answer a series of questions regarding their candidacy at a public School Board meeting.  See BBBA (Board Member Qualifications).  See also Art. III of Kennebunk Charter and Sects. 12 and 14 of the Arundel Charter re: nomination qualifications and the process for filing nomination papers in those towns (available as links under question 4. See Want to be a School Director in RSU 21? for more information. 


Do our School Board Directors agree to abide by a code of conduct while serving on the Board?

All School Board Directors must agree to follow a code of ethics set forth in Board policy while serving on the Board. This code includes the acknowledgement that membership on the board represents service to your “community, state, and nation” because you agree that “public education is the best means to promote the welfare of our people and preserve our democratic way of life.” It also includes an agreement that all decisions you make as a Board member must be student-centered and must seek to provide “education for all students in the community commensurate with their needs and abilities.” It additionally safeguards Board effectiveness and civility through the commitment to refrain from making “disparaging remarks” about fellow Board members and supporting decisions made by a “majority of the Board.”   See Policy BCA (Board Member Code of Ethics).

How do I contact our School Board Directors?

Individual School Board members have an obligation to listen to all residents of the district on district public education matters. However, please keep in mind that contacting individual Board members is usually NOT the most expeditious means to address your complaints or requests for a couple of reasons. First, under state law and Board policy, individual Board members only exercise power when they’re voting at a Board meeting; the actions or statements of an individual Board member don’t bind the entire Board unless the Board has delegated that responsibility to them. Moreover, individual Board members can’t make promises about how they will vote on a matter that the Board as a whole is required to address. Second, the Superintendent and their administrative delegates have the professional expertise and legal obligation to operate the district in accordance with state and federal law and Board policies, which includes resolving public complaints and requests. School Board members must respect this legally-mandated division of labor and obey Board policy limiting the Board’s involvement in resolving complaints or requests by the public to situations where that person has pursued their issue through administrative channels and the issue remains unresolved. 

Once you’ve exhausted your administrative options, we recommend that you email the entire Board and Superintendent to request resolution of the issue.  Email the full board at

See Policy BBAA (Board Member Authority), BCA (Board Member Code of Ethics), and BDD (Board-Superintendent Relationship).


What happens at School Board meetings?

Under state law, activities that are viewed as “the people’s business”, such as managing the public education of a community’s students, must generally “be taken openly.”  Decisions and, except for some topics identified by state law, the discussion preceding such decisions must both take place at meetings that the public has been notified are taking place and has an opportunity to attend. School Board decision-making can only occur at the Board’s “regular”, “special”, or “emergency” business meetings where a “quorum” of 7 Board Directors are present. The decision must be supported by a “majority” of the Board Directors’ present. Directors make decisions by publicly voting on a “motion”, indicating whether they support or oppose the position described in the motion. Board meetings are also an opportunity for the Board and the public to receive important information about the district’s operation and for the Board to listen to the public’s views on public education in the district.  See Policy BEA (School Board Meetings), BEC (Executive Sessions), BEDC (Quorum), BEDF (Voting Method), and 1 MRSA sect. 401.


What is the difference between “Regular” School Board meetings, “Special” School Board meetings, and “Emergency” School Board meetings? 

See Policy BEA (School Board Meetings) for full definitions.


What is an “Executive Session” at a School Board meeting?

In accordance with the Freedom of Access law, all meetings of the School Board shall be open to the public, except as provided by law. The Board may hold executive sessions upon recorded vote of 3/5 of the members present. Deliberations may only be conducted on those matters defined by law or other authority such as personnel, student suspension or expulsion, contract negotiations, collective bargaining, legal advice or pending litigation. No final action shall be taken in executive session. See BEC (Executive Sessions).


What is the role of “Student Representatives” at School Board meetings?

See BBABB (Student Representatives to the Board) and BBABB-R (Student Board Members Selection Procedures) for more information. 


Can I participate in School Board meetings?

School Board meetings are open to the public and there are several ways to participate. Most meetings contain a Public Comment section on the agenda for items not included in the agenda. For items included in the agenda, topics are generally opened up for members of the public to express their views. See BEDH (Public Participation at School Board Meetings). 


What are School Board meeting “Agendas”?

School Board meeting agendas identify the topics of discussion or matters to be addressed at each meeting. See BEDB (Agenda) for more information. 


What are School Board meeting “Minutes”?

Minutes capture notes about the meeting and business discussed during the meeting for public posting and reference. See BEDG (Minutes of Meetings) for more information. 


What are School Board “Committees”?

School Board Committees are sub-groups of the Board that tackle different topics of ongoing work. Both standing and ad hoc committees are listed on the  the School Board section of See BDE (RSU 21 Board of Directors Committees) for more information. 


How many Committees does our School Board have?

There are 6 standing committees and additional ad hoc committees as needed for a particular school year. Both standing and ad hoc committees are listed on the  the School Board section of


Which Committees does each School Board Director belong to?

Please visit the School Board of Directors listing to see committee membership at the Director level. Each committee landing page and agenda also lists membership. 


Can I attend and/or participate in Committee meetings?

Any member of the community can attend committee meetings and the School Board welcomes community participation. See BDE (RSU 21 Board of Directors Committees) for more information. 


Can I attend School Board and/or Committee meetings online?

School Board meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month, though dates may vary to account for holidays and school vacations. Meetings begin at 6:00 p.m. and are typically held at Kennebunk Elementary School in Room A-102. Most meetings are hybrid and include Zoom options for joining online. When larger audiences are anticipated, meetings are held in the KES gymnasium. Visit for confirmed dates and meeting agendas.

Committee meetings are held monthly (additionally as needed for urgent matters or around processes like building the budget) and all committee meeting dates are posted on the School Board section of As with School Board meetings, they are typically held at Kennebunk Elementary School in Room A-102 with a hybrid Zoom meeting option available.