School boards need you

Our school districts are run by our boards of education (BOE). With elected members manning these boards, they offer local control of local educational issues. 

For one, school boards budget and have taxing authority. They plan with education first and foremost in their sights. As the National School Board Association put it, “education is not a line item in your school board’s budget — it is the only item.”

BOE members live and work within our community. They are taxpayers. They understand the burden of providing a successful education at a reasonable cost — something that every child deserves. 

These boards have a finger on the pulse of what both the school district and the community want, and its members work hard to help those wants become reality.

Primarily parents, though not exclusively, BOE members have an appreciation of what it takes to educate our children, and of the challenges many families face in obtaining important instruction and support for children who have unique and individual needs.

Board members have to make themselves accessible. They do so by working side-by-side with parents, teachers, administrators and others who have a vested interest in the education of our children. They act as our watchdogs, but they are held accountable, too, when things don’t work out as they should. Their performance is judged at the polls — when district voters get to have a say on whether they think the BOE is working as it should. 

That’s important, because it puts pressure on the BOE  members to always keep both students and the community in mind as it makes decisions.

So, with all of this responsibility, why would anyone want to serve on a school board? Well,  it’s a way to make sure there’s local oversight. It’s a way to make sure taxes don’t get out of control. And it’s a way to help our school districts prioritize when proposing and instituting curriculum, activities, athletics as well as when operating and maintaining our schools. It’s a way for interested parties to weigh in on how our schools function and to help contribute to their success.

We hope that there will be this year, as in the past, an interest among our community members in running for their local school boards. Nominating petitions are due no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, April 17, at district offices. 

Those who are considering running can get details from their district offices before that deadline, as there are specific requirements that must be met. For more on how and why one might become a BOE member, read reporter Kaitlin Lyle’s story on this week’s front page. To learn more about how your school districts are managed, consider running come May 16.