ECASB news

Ready to Vote for a School Board Candidate?

May 19 is the date for school budget votes throughout New York State, but it's not just the money that voters will depend on. They also will have the opportunity to vote on candidates running for open seats on the school board.

School Board members are the largest body of elected officials in the country, yet turnout for these elections usually is very low. Sometimes people are reluctant to cast that vote because they are not familiar with the people who are running, or they may not be sure what the responsibilities of a school board member actually entail.

If that's your situation, there's still time to get up to speed. You can read the candidate statements in your school newsletter, local press, or on the district's website. Many times candidates also are at the voting site (outside a 100 foot perimeter), meeting and greeting voters. With their statements and backgrounds in mind, ask yourself, would you entrust this individual to help establish a vision for the community's schools? Can you see them working efficiently within organizational structure? Would you be comfortable with them hiring and evaluating a superintendent? With evaluating and adopting policies for the school district?

Would you entrust them with monitoring district finances? With maintaining good relationships with the staff and community and other school board members?

Everyone can learn, and no one knows everything at the start, but here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Are they aware of district issues: curriculum, assessments, facilities, finances?
  • Can they work as a member of a team and support group decisions?
  • Will they be mindful of the school district's relationship with the community?
  • Do they truly value public education, with a commitment to serve the needs of all students?
  • Do they have poise and professionalism?
  • Are they respectful of diversity, in people and opinions?
  • Do they have time and energy for this position?
  • Are they themselves learners? In addition, to attending meetings, there is much to learn about the functions of a school district, including its own policies, and its state and federal obligations.

 

If you're learning toward YES on those questions, you likely have a very good school board member to vote for. To be qualified to vote in a school board election, you must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, and a resident of the school district for at least 30 days. (You need not be a registered voter to vote in a school board election, although you may be asked for proof of district residency at the polls.)

Posted on Monday, 18 May 2015 11:48

 

Prospective Candidates Get Inside Look at School Board Service

More than 30 prospective school board candidates from area school districts signed up for the Prospective School Board Member workshop held by the Erie County Association of School Boards. Topics included "School Boards and the Law," "A Superintendent's Viewpoint (What I Wish Every Candidate Knew)," and "The Election Process." Hodgson Russ attorneys Karl Kristoff and Melanie Beardsley and Amherst School Superintendent Dr. Laura Chabe were presenters. Several ECASB Executive Board members and other veteran school board members also spent the morning with the prospective candidates, where they discussed topics such as what it's like to run for office and the realities of being a school board member in panel and round table discussions.

Posted on Thursday, 02 April 2015 14:02

 

'Equity, not adequacy, is the funding issue'

Did you know that $1 out of every $10 spent on education in the U.S. is spent in New York State? So said David Little, Executive Director of the Rural Schools Association, at the ECASB "Albany Update" Winter Dinner program. "Equity, not adequacy, is the funding issue," he said. New York State is not in a position to institute new taxes even if it wanted to, he said, noting "We already have every tax in the nation, and we tax it at the highest rates."

Read more: 'Equity, not adequacy, is the funding issue'

Posted on Friday, 16 January 2015 09:27