As a follow-up to the article I wrote last week, I thought this week would be a good time to share some details about what a role on a public school board is all about. The Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) is our state association that supports district boards throughout the state. They have published a guide to filling a board vacancy that is really beneficial for understanding not only the selection process for filling the seat lawfully, but also what constitutes an effective board member. You can find the guide on our website under the School Board tab in School Board News and I am also going to share some of the highlights from their guide here.
What Do Board Members Do?
- To envision the district’s education future and set goals and define strategies to guide the district toward that vision.
- To hire a superintendent who’ll effectively implement the board’s policies and manage the district to accomplish its goals.
- To monitor and assess the district’s performance and to keep the public informed and engaged.
- To advocate for students and public schools within the community, state and national levels. (p. 3, 2016)
Legal Qualifications for Board Members
“To be eligible, a person must be a qualified school elector. This means that the candidate must be a registered voter in the school district where he or she is a candidate. A candidate must be at least 18 years of age; a citizen of the United States; a resident of the state of Michigan for at least 30 days; and a resident of the school district on or before the 30th day prior to the date of the election. Property ownership isn’t a requirement for candidacy” (p. 6, 2016).
Legal Authority of Boards of Education
- Educate students.
- Provide for the safety and welfare of students.
- Acquire, maintain and dispose of school property.
- Determine matters relating to employees and contractors.
- Make joint agreements and cooperative arrangements.
- Set the curricula and courses taught in the schools.
- Employ the superintendent.
- Adopt a budget.
- Decide whether or not to furnish transportation for pupils.
- Negotiate with employee unions regarding salaries and other conditions of employment.
- Individual school board members have no authority to act independently; they can’t commit or bind the board by their individual actions; powers and duties of the board must be exercised by the board as a whole. (p. 12, 2016)
If you are considering applying to fill the vacancy on our board, I encourage you to check out the remainder of the MASB Guide to filling a Vacancy by Appointment on our website at mvs.k12.mi.us.
You can submit your resume and letter of interest to our central office at 11014 Nashville Hwy., Vermontville, MI 49096, or email those files to Kelly Zank (KZank@mvs.k12.mi.us)
We benefit from local controls when we have an informed, engaged, and skillful board committed to the mission and vision of Maple Valley Schools. Please consider joining our board for the welfare of our kids, families, staff, and community.
It is a great day to be in the Valley!