The abrupt change from “citizen” to board member often catches newly seated board members off guard.
You may suddenly be bombarded with concerns and complaints from friends, acquaintances or people you’ve never met before. You can no longer be out in
the community without being approached by folks who have concerns about happenings within the school system. And, even when you tell them that your
authority to act is limited to board meetings, they’ll see you as a 24/7 board member.
Most boards meet once or twice each month with a typical meeting lasting between two and four hours. Emergencies may prompt additional special meetings. Board members may also have to attend committee meetings that require even further preparation and time. The board member’s involvement in community affairs and attendance at school programs and events will add more hours of board service to the member’s schedule.
Many newly elected board members are unprepared for the huge amount of board-related paperwork they must read or for the multitude of new information they must learn in a very short time. It’s not uncommon to hear board members state that it takes them several hours prior to a board meeting to review their board packet thoroughly and to get all their questions answered.
Without question, there is a huge time commitment required to serve on a board of education. However, experienced board members often find that the tremendous satisfaction they reap from their public service greatly outweighs any negative aspects of the job or personal sacrifices they must make. Still, anyone running for the school board should be well aware that they will be dedicating many hours to fulfilling the responsibilities of their new position.
Video: The Board Member's Time Commitment