Get on Board – The School Board

Do you want to make a difference in how schools in your area are run? Do you have ideas for how a school district can make the most of its resources? Are you a passionate advocate for the quality of a public education?

Maybe you should consider running for the Board of Education!

It isn’t possible to do this everywhere. School boards are supposed to be free of partisan politics – but in those areas where the board is appointed by the mayor instead of elected, this may not be quite the reality. Nevertheless, if you have the opportunity, it can be a wonderful way to serve your community and make a difference. Even if the board is appointed, if you are an active member of the community, you may be recommended for the board by the community organizations you serve.

Community service is the key to being elected to a school board. Who will vote for you if they do not know you? But if you have volunteered with scouts, coached a sport, participated in the local 5 k run, helped with a band fundraiser, volunteered with kids and seniors, then people in your community know who you are, and that you are one of them. You have a much better chance of being elected than the opinionated gadfly who talks a lot about lowering the school portion of property taxes but never shows up for much of anything in town.

Being a member of a board of education requires a huge commitment of time and talent. Board members are public officials, and are subject to laws concerning campaign contributions and ethical behavior. You need to know the people of your community, and give them ample opportunity to know you! Meetings, conferences, study, evaluation, hiring, negotiation, finances – all these are part of the administrative board’s job in running a school district.

Don’t think it can’t happen. You might be the best thing to come along in a while!

By the way, if you live in New Jersey, your deadline to file for candidacy is Feb 27 at 4 PM, so get busy!

For more information about local school boards across the US, visit www.nsba.org