One school board position will be up for election on April 14, 2020. The 3-year position, with duties to be assumed in July 2020, will be vacant due to the expiration of the present term of Jeff Traill.
Nominating petitions, along with information on how to circulate a petition, are available in the school district business office at 1216 Garfield Avenue. Petitions may be circulated between January 31 and February 28, and must be filed with the business manager no later than February 28, 2020 at 5 p.m.
The local school board is a uniquely American institution that has made the public school more flexible and responsive to the needs of local communities. A school board member is entrusted with one of the most important responsibilities that can be assigned to any citizen – helping to plan the education of the youth of this nation.
To qualify for being a school board member, a candidate must be a registered voter residing within the school district. Usually a board member cannot be interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract or claim with the board. Board members may be paid for their services at a rate established by the school board.
Although the legal requirements for board members are few, the qualifications needed for effective service on a board are many:
- The board member should have a broad background of experience and knowledge or be ready, willing and able to learn quickly. The intricacy and complexity of every area of school operation – whether finances, student/employee/community relationships, or curriculum – demand intelligence, awareness, and sensitivity.
- The board member should be able to look beyond yesterday’s solutions and yesterday’s kind of education and be willing to provide today’s kind of education for today’s children.
- The board member should be visionary – able to understand the forces of change and to foresee, at least to some extent, the shape of the future and to plan wisely.
- The board member should be tolerant and free of prejudice. Diversity in the ethnic, racial and socioeconomic composition of the student population makes it imperative that the board member be understanding of all children.
- The board member should understand that education today, like the world it mirrors, is extremely complex, and that simplistic approaches will not always meet today’s challenges.
- The board member should be able to defend the board’s philosophy and goals and to withstand the barbs that will come from people with opposing views.
- The board member should be willing to invest the many hours necessary to discharge his/her responsibilities.
- The board member should serve because of a sincere desire to serve the community, rather than for personal glory or gratification of personal objectives.
- The board member should bear in mind that, as a state official, he/she has a responsibility to all the children in the state, not solely to those in his/her local district.
- The board member should be a skilled decision maker, but he/she must also remember that decisions are to be made only by the board acting as a whole. Individual opinions on board matters can and should be defended vigorously, but once the board as a unit has made a decision it should be accepted gracefully and implemented whole-heartedly.
School Board Member Code of Ethics
Associate School Boards of South Dakota
- I will view my service on a school board as an opportunity to serve my community, state, and nation because I believe public education is the best means to promote the welfare of our people and to preserve self-government.
- I will work unremittingly to help the people in my community understand the importance of public education and to willingly support the highest level of education we can afford.
- I will try to make decisions in terms of the best interests of the educational welfare of children. I will seek to provide an equal educational opportunity, open to all children regardless of ability, race, creed, sex, or location of residence.
- I will recognize that my responsibility is not to run the schools but to see that the schools are well run. I will confine my board action to policy making, planning, and appraisal.
- I will refuse to represent special interests or partisan politics or to use the schools for personal gain or for the gain of friends or supporters.
- I will arrive at conclusions only after I have discussed matters fully with members of the professional staff and board members. Once a decision has been reached by the majority of the board assembled at the meeting, I will graciously support it.
- I will recognize that authority vests with the whole board assembled in meeting and that I have no legal status to bind the board outside of a meeting.
- I will support and protect school personnel in performance of their duties. I will vote only for competent and trained technical and professional personnel who have been properly recommended by the appropriate administrator.
- I will refer all complaints, including my personal criticisms, to the appropriate administrator for solution and will only discuss such matters at a regular board meeting.
- I will observe and enforce laws and regulations pertaining to public education.
- I will respect the limited intent and scope of executive session and respect privileged communications from executive sessions and other administrative sources.
Excerpts from “So You Want To Become a School Board Member, A Guide For Candidates 2007”, by permission of Associated School Boards of South Dakota.