Union Free School District Definition

What is the definition of a common, union free, and central school district?

Common School District

A common school district is a school district first created by legislative action in 1812 to operate elementary schools (kindergarten through eighth grade). Even though they lack legal authority to operate a high school, common school districts remain responsible for ensuring a secondary education for their resident children.

A common school district is administered by either a sole trustee or a school board of three trustees (§ 1602(1)). The number of members of the board of trustees of a common school district may be increased or decreased as set forth in law.

Union Free School District

A union free school district is a school district generally formed from one or more common school districts to operate a high school program, which common school districts cannot do. First authorized by legislation in 1853, union free school districts are administered by a school board of between three and nine members. The number of Board members of a union free school district may be increased or decreased as set forth in law.

Currently, not all union free school districts operate a secondary school program, and some have been established solely as special act school districts to serve children who reside in specified childcare institutions.

Central School District

A central school district is a school district formed by combining any number of common, union free, and/or other central school districts.