Board of Specified Jurisdiction

What is a Board of Specified Jurisdiction?
The Archdiocese of Chicago decided that schools in the diocese should move from an Advisory Board to a Board of Specified Jurisdiction (BSJ).  Although the goals of both of these forms of governance are similar, the difference is in their composition and purpose.  Advisory Boards were made of primarily parents of current students who supported the school’s sustainability. The Board of Specified Jurisdiction has a more diverse membership of parishioners, parents, alumni, and business community leaders.  The idea was to increase the participation of laity in the decision making and ownership of our school.  There are many committees that comprise the BSJ.  These committees include Budget/Finance,Marketing/Enrollment, FSA/Ministry, Facilities and Executive.

The committees will assist in making our school an even better place moving forward.  Queen of Martyrs School is continually striving to give our children the best faith based education possible.  Thus, Queen of Martyrs School is starting a Board of Specified Jurisdiction.  The pastor, Fr. Marty Marren, is establishing the BSJ to assist the school community in the governance in specified areas of the school, consistent with the policies, procedures, guidelines, regulations and best practices set forth by the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Office of Catholic Schools.

A BSJ is composed of 11 to 21 members.  An individual is appointed by the pastor based on a certain skill set and expertise for a specified term, usually 3 years.  A maximum of 20% of the Board members may be non-Catholic.  

Board members may be:  

  • Parishioners

  • Alumni and parents of alumni

  • Leaders within the neighborhood, business and professional community

  • parents/guardians (up to 20%)

How were you chosen?
The current Queen of Martyrs Advisory Board members submitted a list of potential candidates to Fr. Marren.  Fr. Marren made the decision as to which candidates to pursue and then made phone calls to each potential candidate to see if they might be interested. Now, here you are!

What are my responsibilities?
 The Archbishop empowers the members of the BSJ through the pastor with specified responsibilities/powers.  The following are the areas of responsibility of the BSJ:

  • foster and promote a faith-based community;

  • support the ministry of Catholic school education;

  • set direction in finance, facilities, marketing, strategic planning, and development;

  • ensure financial stability;

  • Increase transparency;

  • build trust and confidence in partnership with school, families and parish;

  • focus on areas critical to short and long-term future

As a member of the BSJ, you will prepare for and attend board meetings and actively participate in at least one of the committees of the BSJ.  The school community shall have an active and supportive Family School Association (FSA) and its president or designated representative sits on the Board of Specified Jurisdiction (BSJ).

The board will use a consensus model of decision-making; work is prepared in committee before presentation to the board at the monthly board meeting. The Executive Committee, made up of the Board Chair, Assistant Chair, and Secretary, the Pastor (or Superintendent’s delegate) and Principal, sets the Board agenda and monitors the Board calendar. An Agenda packet, including the minutes from each current committee’s work, is sent to board members in a timely manner, so that board members may come to the meeting prepared.

How long is the commitment?  
BSJ members typically serve on the board for a 3 year term.

The committees
Board members are appointed to serve on a committee based on their expertise and desire.  The committees are project-directed groups.  Other people in the community may be recruited to join the committees to help accomplish the projects of the committee. (With the exception of the Executive Committee which is only board members).

Each of the following committees should have a chairperson.  The chairperson must be a BSJ board member.  

The following will be the committees of the Queen of Martyrs BSJ. Listed are some of the potential responsibilities and goals of each committee (subject to change):

The Executive committee is made up of the Pastor, the Principal, the Board  Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Secretary.  The Executive Committee will:

  • set goals for the school

  • monitor the Board calendar in conjunction with the school calendar

  • forms the Board meeting agenda

  • makes decisions between meetings of the entire Board as necessary

  • provides leadership for the entire board

  • ensures that all committees have goals as well as submit timely reports for Board meetings

  • be a first response team for the pastor and principal


  • implement the Fiscal Management guidelines of the Archdiocese

  • collaborate in the development and monitoring of the school budget which is ultimately endorsed by the entire board membership and approved by the Pastor in consultation with the Parish Finance Committee

  • help with all fundraising efforts of Queen of Martyrs School

  • assist with the major Spring Fundraising event of QM school

  • come up with financial goals for the school

  • brainstorm ideas to increase Sunday collections

  • come up with ways to increase the usage of the Sharing Program

  • review financial aid applications to determine priority of awarding monies


  • assist the marketing/enrollment director in an effort to increase enrollment

  • help promote our school through a wide variety of methods including the use of our website, postcards, newspaper ads, newspaper articles, social media, Open Houses, parish-school events, the bulletin, local community events such as the South Side Irish parade, etc…

  • ideas/plans to retain current families

  • plan and assist with Catholic Schools Week events

  • plan and implement activities or new strategies to promote our school

  • give guidance, help or new ideas for the Moms/Tots program

  • find ways to increase alumni involvement and  participation

  • plan and assist during school evening and weekend events as needed

  • promote Bingo and the Sharing Program as well as the Martyrsfest Raffle and Spring Fundraiser Raffle

  • help with overall school fundraising

  • help with the Spring Fundraising event


  • increase parental involvement/volunteers in FSA and the church

  • arrange for Room Parents

  • plan and execute various student-centered activities throughout the year

  • increase the parish/school/Saturday school connection

  • monitor and assist with the monthly Sunday Grade-level Mass

  • help with overall school fundraising

  • help with the Spring Fundraising event

  • fundraise for the prizes and student assemblies for the “Pawsome Student” positive behavior system

  • fundraise to provide for all-school assemblies

  • plan and execute the “Back to School” BBQ

  • assist with the planning and execution of after-school enrichment classes

  • help with a schedule for bingo volunteers (possibly by grade level or by organization)

  • assist as needed with various school events throughout the year (open houses, Catholic Schools week, walk-a-thon, picnic, book fair, etc..)


  • create a comprehensive preventative maintenance plan

  • complete a visual inspection of the school on a minimum of a monthly basis for cleanliness or general need for repairs and reports to the principal

  • maintain a list of repairs needed and provides a copy to the pastor and principal

  • communicate with the facilities manager as to what needs to be completed through the use of a checklist and then follow up to ensure that the items have been corrected in a timely manner

  • help with decisions of projects (priority, timeline, contractor, cost, etc…)

  • help with overall school fundraising

  • help with the Spring Fundraising event

 When are the meetings?
The Board of Specified Jurisdiction meetings will be held the First Tuesday of the month at 7:00pm in the school library.  Each committee will meet as needed prior to these monthly meetings in order to work on projects and complete the goals that you have set.