A local education agency is a government agency which supervises the provision of instruction or educational services to members of the community. People may also use the term “school district” to refer to a local education agency. Classically, these agencies include several schools, including grammar, middle, and high schools, along with education support programs such as independent study programs. In remote areas, there may only be one school under the purview of the education agency.
These government agencies are responsible for ensuring that members of the public have access to the free education which is guaranteed by the government, and that the standards of education are high. Local education agencies typically must demonstrate that their schools meet government educational standards, and that they have services and plans for all children who live within the boundaries of the district, ranging from special education services for children with developmental disabilities to busing services which provide transportation so that children can get to school.
Administrators at a local education agency deal with the considerable administrative paperwork which is involved in running a school district, from handling questions from accreditation organizations which plan to visit the schools in the district to dealing with parent complaints. The agency formulates a budget, determining where available funds should be allotted, creates policies which are designed to address various issues in the school district, supervises hiring searches for new teachers, and responds to changing government regulations to ensure that the schools stay current.
Some employees of the local education agency are teachers who have trained as administrators, while others are simply administrators who are interested in working in education. Degrees in education administration are available from some colleges and universities, and such degrees are usually required for people working in supervisory positions. Employment by the government provides the employees with access to a number of government benefits, including access to government pension funds.
Private schools are excluded from local education agencies, because each private school is run as its own administrative entity, or as part of a larger group of private schools. Private schools must still meet educational standards and pass accreditation inspections, but they don't share services with local education agencies, except by special arrangement. For example, a private school may agree to donate use of its pool to a swim team which does not have access to a pool, or private school students may be allowed on the school district's buses.