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Durham District School Board
Ignite Learning
Roles & Responsibilities
Purpose of the Position
Working together, a school trustee is responsible, as a member of the Board:
  • to govern and set policy
  • to govern for the provision of curriculum, facilities, human and financial resources
  • to advocate for the needs of their communities
  • as a constituency representative, to explain the policies and decisions of the Durham District School Board to residents

Policy Development and Administration
Policy is the framework that governs the administration and operation of the board. By the act of approving a policy, the board assumes full political, financial and legal responsibility for it.

The Board of Trustees are responsible:
  • to ensure that the board's policies are current and that all parties operate within them
  • to set and​ evaluate policy for the board and to ensure that it is implemented
  • to ensure that the board's purpose, governing principles, function and activities are bei​ng pursued in a responsible manner with the utmost integrity
The Board of Trustees are responsible:
  • to participate in the annual budget development process
  • to approve the board budget and to monitor its progress
  • to demonstrate fiscal accountability to the citizens of the communities the board serves
  • to ensure the allocation of resources to support the board's policies and programs

Role of the Trustee
School trustees are responsible for the operation of the public school system. They are elected by public school taxpayers, every four years, during municipal elections. The Education Act defines, by formula, the maximum number of trustees to be elected in each particular jurisdiction, and establishes how much trustees are paid. In the case of the Durham District School Board, there are 11 trustees elected to represent Durham's seven municipalities. The Board also has three student trustees.


Public school trustees are the critical link between communities and school Boards. They ensure public schools meet the diverse needs of students in their communities. Together, trustees are responsible to their communities for the quality of education provided in local schools within an approved financial framework.
Each trustee is accountable, through applicable legislation and adopted policies, to:
  • their constituents
  • the Durham District School Board
  • the province of Ontario
Trustees are encouraged:
  • to attend and participate in all regular board meetings and, as appointed, committees established by the board.
  • to attend other board committees or task force assignments for which the trustee has volunteered or been appointed by the board
  • to represent the board on community based committees and functions for which the trustee has volunteered or been appointed by the board
  • to be knowledgeable about the Durham District School Board and provincial/federal legislation in order that specific responsibilities can be carried out appropriately
Trustees have no individual authority. Trustees have an individual responsibility to represent the constituents of their respective communities to the best of their ability. In this respect, it is the duty of the board, its staff and officers, to facilitate this opportunity, by receiving written or oral delegations and presentations by groups and individuals and to respond to them appropriately.


Trustees are responsible:
  • to evaluate and review, on a regular basis, the board's achievement of its goals, objectives and strategic plan to ensure program and system objectives are met
  • to ensure that the board is responsibly meeting its legal and financial requirements and obligations
  • to monitor the implementation of board directives
  • to monitor the activities of the board, including the review of reports and positions taken at board and committee meetings
Public Relations
Trustees are responsible:
  • to represent and actively promote the Durham District School Board in their communities
  • to work in partnership with school councils
  • to support and encourage public education

Human Resources

Trustees are responsible:
  • to establish the policies that govern the administration of personnel
  • to appoint senior administration and other staff as identified in the Education Act
  • to evaluate the performance of the board's Director of Education
  • to support and provide opportunities for the orientation, training and development of all board employees, including trustees
  • to bargain in good faith with all employee groups
Trustees must ensure that the board's employment practices conform to employment standards and all other employment-related laws, such as employment equity, pay equity and health and safety legislation. The Board provides safe environments free from any form of racism or discrimination for its employees.
The following are principles and procedures derived from explicit laws (statutes), common law precedents and long established practice:
The board may delegate authority to an individual trustee, employee or committee. However, ultimate control and
responsibility remains with the board as a whole.

Members of the Board are the trustees of the assets which belong to the board.

Members of the Board are obligated to consider and protect the future of the Board. It is the duty of trustees to
always consider the long-term effects of each decision.

Trustees avoid any conflict of interest, within the spirit and letter of the law.

"In-camera" confidentiality must be maintained.


Durham District School Board
400 Taunton Road East,
Whitby, ON
L1R 2K6 Canada

Phone: 905-666-5500
Fax: 905-666-6474
Toll Free: 1-800-265-3968
TTY 905-666-6943, 877-868-5575
© Durham District School Board, 2013