Volunteer school board members deserve adequate training

Friday, April 4, 2014

Our public schools have long served as the nucleus and hub of communities throughout our state. As such, the decisions of volunteer school board members reach into the heart of a community, affecting jobs, resources and activities and, most importantly, impacting the educational opportunities of over 90 percent of Michigan’s school-age students.

To serve on a public school board, candidates must be at least 18 years old, a citizen of the state, resident of the district, a registered voter and eligible under the State Constitution. But, as many current and past school board members can attest, the job realities of serving on the board belie the minimal legal requirements.

“I am a farmer by trade, so when I started serving on our local school board more than 35 years ago, I quickly became aware of gaps in my knowledge base,” noted Michigan Association of School Boards President Ruth Coppens of Merrill, Mich. “So I looked for training in order to effectively serve my community and be a strong advocate for student achievement.”

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