There are eight individuals in this community who are ordinary citizens – our friends and neighbors – but who display extraordinary dedication to our community and our children. They are our locally-elected board of education. Their service to our school district is done on a volunteer basis, and they deserve our appreciation and thanks. They are held accountable for the decisions they make that impact the future of not only our students, but our community.
Public education is the backbone of American society, and local school boards are deeply rooted in U.S. tradition. In fact, in 1966 the people of Kansas amended our state’s constitution to specifically call for local public schools that are ‘maintained, developed and operated by locally elected boards.’ Our local board of education is responsible for setting a vision our local education program and partners with staff and other members of the community to provide the facilities and infrastructure to achieve that vision.
Each board member is a strong advocate for the success of every child in our schools. They research, study and then discuss issues so that they can make informed decisions on countless complex challenges. Too often we forget about the personal sacrifices school board members make. They spend hours in meetings and on committees, and also advocate for our schools with elected politicians by speaking out against budget cuts or pushing for policy and program reforms.
The job of a school board member is tough, the hours long and the thanks few and far between. It is time we change that, at least that last part. January 2019 marks the annual observance of School Board Recognition Month. The theme this year is “School Board Members Lead the Future.” This is a time to shine a light on how local boards prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders. In January, join with others throughout our district and state to salute the men and women who provide leadership for our public schools.