Monday Moanin’: Too much at stake to not ‘Get On Board’

(From the blog of Mister Journalism: Reading, Sharing, Discussing, Learning)

By Jeff Salisbury

Four open positions for next school board election

The Wayland Unimister journalism2on Schools Board of Education will have four open seats in the next election, all four-year terms.

Interested candidates must file at the Allegan County Clerk’s office (113 Chestnut St., Allegan, (269) 673-0291) by 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 26. The election will take place on Nov. 8, 2016.

More information can be found at, select Elections in Michigan, Information for Candidates or Campaign Finance Disclosures.

Too much at stake to not ‘Get On Board’
By Don Wotruba

Public education has been the foundation of learning in this country for nearly 400 years. While our public schools have rapidly evolved since those early days, they still exist as the basis of learning for roughly 90 percent of America’s students.

To ensure that all of the more than 50 million children in public schools receive a quality and thorough education, everyone in the community needs to be involved. It can’t just fall to our teachers, administrators, support staff, parents and students.

We need you to Get On Board.

The reality is, Michigan is having a difficult time filling school board seats. And when boards have to take time to fill those vacancies with interviews and meetings that process takes away from the time they have to work on the business of governing the district.

In August 2014, nearly 10 percent of the board seats across the state weren’t filed for at the filing deadline. In March 2015, the Michigan Association of School Boards commissioned a poll to find out why people weren’t running for board seats.

We found that 27 percent said boards were too political, 22 percent were apathetic, 15 percent said the time commitment was too great, 14 percent say school boards are ineffective, 13 percent weren’t aware of any openings on their local board and the remaining 9 percent were undecided.

These were eye-opening numbers for our organization. It told us the MASB needed to do a better job of elevating board service and making people aware of the importance of serving.

We won’t sugar coat it. It’s a time commitment. It’s often a difficult and thankless job. But you will be making a difference in your community and in your school district.

We need people to run who are willing to share their time, experiences and expertise. All types of input and values are needed. We need more diversity on our boards. Not just racial diversity, but socioeconomic, gender, age, thought, life experiences and so much more. It’s only when we hear from new people with new perspectives that our school boards can be successful.

This is an opportunity for you to give back to your community. A board has so many vital responsibilities. It’s a bridge between the community and the school district. It’s truly the community’s voice for what they expect from their schools.

The responsibilities don’t come lightly and they must be taken seriously. Boards make thousands of decisions each year that affect so many in the district and in the community. Teachers, parents and families. Every decision must be carefully weighed.

We need people to understand the importance of serving on your local board, and the impact it can have on the community and its students. We need civic-minded, student-focused individuals to run for board seats. We need people who want to be leaders in their community. We need people who care about the future of our students and public education in Michigan. We need you.

Note: Don Wotruba is executive director of the Michigan Association of School Boards.

…until next time, keep reading, sharing, discussing, learning.

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