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School district

Although the operation of public primary, middle, and secondary schools is by some considered to be more properly an executive function of government, public education in many communities in the USA has been made the function of a school district serving one or more towns. A school district is a unique body corporate and politic, usually with standing before the law coequal to that of a city or a county, and has similar powers including taxation and eminent domain. Its legislative body, elected by direct popular vote, is called a school board or board of trustees, and this body appoints a superintendent, usually a highly qualified teacher, to function as the district's chief executive for carrying out day-to-day decisions and policy implementations. The school board on occasion may also exercise a token judiciary function in serious employee or student matters.

The functioning of a school district can be a key influence and concern in local politics. A well run district with safe and clean schools, graduating enough students to good colleges, can enhance the value of housing in its area, and thus increase the amount of tax revenue available to carry out its operations.

In addition to the various schools it operates and the various support facilities they require for their operation, such as bus yards, laundries, warehouses, and kitchens, some very large school districts operate medical clinics, television stations (many of which are official PBS affiliates for their respective markets), and fully functioning police departments. Additionally it is not unusual to find public libraries or recreation programs operated by a school system.