My run for school board this past May was not my first foray into local politics. I had run in 2003 also and the woman who beat me is still on the Board. I had also, several years ago, applied for an open position that was available but withdrew my name after the interview when I found out that it would not be filling the position until it was set to expire but would require running again two years in a row. While I love politics, that was too much politicking for me.
Back during that interview process, I heard many people saying that Board of Education was no big deal. There are only two meetings a month, most months, and how much time can that take up. I am hear to dispute that a Board member only goes to two meetings a month and that the time spent on school district business – whether reading newspapers or reading information or at actual meetings or visiting buildings – is more than the actual meeting time.
Since I was sworn in July 7th, I have been to two official board meetings. I am about to go out the door to my third safety committee meeting. I have spent, easily, two hours a day reading information about school business. This reading can come from any number of sources. The superintendent sends out a Friday bulletin that has all kinds of information in it that must be read. The NY State School Board Association sends out a daily email that lists articles in newspapers around the state with education as the topic. There have been Board meeting packets that come the Friday before meetings with at least an hour of reading involved. All this time has been spent and school has not yet started in NYS.
While the position of school board member is not to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the school district, a board member does need to know what is going on in the district. Consequently, the time involved in being a board member is more than just the monthly meetings. As I learn more and more, I am continually inspired by those who have 15 to 20 years of service.