The State Board of Education was created by Article XV of the CNMI Constitution. There are five members elected at large on a non-partisan basis to a term of four years* (1 from the First Senatorial District – Rota, 1 from the Second Senatorial District – Tinian and Aguiguan, and 3 from the Third Senatorial District – Saipan and the Northern Islands). There are also three non-voting ex-officio members to the Board who are appointed by the Governor: one student representative, one non-public school representative, and one teacher representative.

Article XV of the CNMI Constitution guarantees a right to a free and compulsory elementary and secondary education for all persons in the CNMI between the ages of 6 to 16 years old. It also provides that the Board of Education formulate policy, administer public elementary and secondary education, and exercise control over the public school system through the Commissioner of Education.

The Constitution also delineates the responsibilities of the educational system, as follows: “provide maximum educational and training opportunities and be sensitive and responsive to the needs and desires of the community as it pursues its central objective of developing human potential. The educational system shall also provide support and guidance for students in assessing areas of interest and ability, in clarifying values and goals, and in providing students with clear and accurate information so they may gain the most from their educational experience. The educational system shall recognize the distinct and unique cultural heritage and indigenous way of life of the people and shall be committed to provide for the language needs of the people and the preservation of their cultural integrity within a global community.“

Other matters pertaining to the operations and duties of the public school system shall be provided by law, i.e. Public Law 6-10 (The Education Act of 1988), codified at 3 CMC § 1101, et al.

The Board also has adopted bylaws, policies, and regulations which govern how it meets its mandates.

* Except for the current terms of the members which added an additional year to their current terms pursuant to Senate Legislative Initiative 16-11, moving all general elections to even-numbered years