Publication Date

Spring 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




Noni M. Reis

Subject Areas

Educational leadership


The purpose of this study was to examine and analyze the decision-making and policy development of local governing boards acting in response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Quantitative and qualitative data was gathered through open-ended items in a mixed-methods survey and through a focus group interview. This research sought to gather governing board members' perceptions about the effects that the COVID-19 crisis had on their decision-making processes with regard to enacting state, federal, and COVID-19 Relief Funds policies. The findings in the study indicate that governing board members’ understandings of state and federal policy were not nuanced enough to effectively inform their decision-making processes. The impacts of COVID-19 greatly impacted the governing boards’ decision-making processes, and COVID-19 relief funding policy presented challenges to governing boards’ abilities to address equity issues. The researcher concludes that (1) ongoing professional development for board members could benefit their decision-making and policy enactment, (2) governing boards could thus be helped to understand and implement a systems thinking approach that could aid their efficacy, and (3) governing boards must keep a focus on equity not only to address needs of all students but also to adhere to existing state and federal policy mandates that should guide their actions.