I am writing in response to your recent editorial discussing whether the Los Angeles school board should be a full-time position ("Goldberg Tries an Old Variation," Nov. 13). You are right, the board should not micro-manage and should not tie up the superintendent and senior staff in constant meetings. The question is whether in the absence of these inappropriate activities there is a role for a full-time board? I would argue that there is.
We are elected to provide leadership and set policy, not to approve field trips or routine expenditures. Moreover, as schools assume far greater autonomy under school-based management, there is less of a need to have controlling central policy. I have led efforts to delegate matters of routine administration to the superintendent and his staff. Another proposal to delegate additional items will come before the board in a few weeks.
Whatever the level of day-to-day involvement, the board is held accountable to govern a $4-billion public agency. This budget is larger than that of the City of Los Angeles. Board member districts are larger than those represented by a member of Congress. It is appropriate that the board be well-informed to serve as a check or balance against the unelected bureaucracy. This can not be done effectively on a part-time basis.