1000 Policy – Legal Status and Operations

Legal Status

The board of directors of Bellingham Public Schools is the corporate entity established by the state of Washington to ensure quality in the content of the district’s educational program and provide students with an opportunity to achieve those skills recognized as requisite to learning.

The governance policies of the board describe the board’s job and how it directs the superintendent to achieve the “ends.” The board’s operating policies are those that the board adopts from time to time to facilitate its manner of conducting official business.



The corporate name of this school district is Bellingham School District No. 501, Whatcom County, state of Washington. The district is classified as a first class district and is operated in accordance with the laws and regulations pertaining to first class districts.

In order to achieve its policies in The Bellingham Promise, the board will exercise the full authority granted to it by the laws of the state. Its legal powers, duties and responsibilities are derived from state statute and regulation. Sources such as the school code (Title 28A RCW), attorney general’s opinions, regulations of the State Board of Education (Title 180 WAC), and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (Title 392 WAC) delineate the legal powers, duties and responsibilities of the board.


Number of Members and Terms of Office

The board will consist of five members, elected by ballot by the registered voters of the district. Except as otherwise provided by law, board members will hold office for terms of four years and until their successors are elected and qualified. Terms of board members will be staggered as provided by law.

Newly-elected directors will take office at the first official meeting of the board of directors after the election results have been certified by the county auditor. Prior to beginning their term, directors will take and subscribe to an oath of office.


Approved By: Superintendent Greg Baker and Board President Camille Diaz Hackler
Adopted/Previous Revisions: 05/10/79; 10/11/07
Updated: 08/25/16
Superintendent or Board Approved: Board Approved
Cross References: Content

Policy 1111      Oath of office

Legal References: Content

RCW 28A.150.230 Basic Education Act — District school directors’ responsibilities

RCW 28A.300.065 Classification and numbering system of school districts

RCW 28A.315.035 Organization of school districts

RCW 28A.320.010 Corporate powers

RCW 28A.320.040 Directors — Bylaws for board and school government

RCW 28A.343.300 Director —Terms — Numbers

RCW 28A.343.320 Directors — Declarations of candidacy — Positions as separate offices

RCW 28A.343.330 Directors — Ballots — Form

RCW 28A.320.020 Liability for debts and judgments

RCW 28A.343.360 Directors — Oath of Office

RCW 29A.60.270  Local officers, beginning of terms — Organization of district boards of directors

RCW 29A.60.280  Local elected officials, commencement of term of office — Purpose