Chapter I: School Board Member's Role and Fiduciary Responsibilities

Fiduciary: A person to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of another.

A fiduciary is a person or organization that acts on behalf of another person or persons, putting those persons’ interests ahead of their own, with a duty to preserve good faith and trust. Being a fiduciary thus requires being bound both legally and ethically to act in the other's best interests.

“Members of a Board of Education occupy a fiduciary position and are under a duty to make detailed inquiry into any matter which appears to be wrong; failure to do so is negligence and under appropriate circumstances may constitute a violation of [law] with attendant removal of the culpable members from office.” [West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in Lane v. Blair, 162 W.Va. 281, 250 S.E.2d 124 (W. Va. 1978)]

“A public officer is in the position of a fiduciary, and he is under an obligation to serve the public with highest fidelity and undivided loyalty. . .The public officer is bound to act primarily for the benefit of the public and must perform the duties of his office honestly, faithfully and to the best of his ability.” [West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in State ex rel. Preissler v. Dostert, 163 W.Va. 719, 260 S.E.2d 279 (W. Va. 1979), quoting U.S. v. Thomas, 82 U.S. (15 Wall.) 337 (1873)]

Outside of a Board Meeting You Have No More Authority Than a Person on the Street!

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