- Good Schools are good business. They attract employers, strengthen the local economy, and enhance property values.
- Good schools ensure our students will be prepared to keep our nation competitive in a global economy.
- Good schools keep the American Dream alive with an opportunity for every child to receive a world-class education.
- Good schools keep the quality of life in a community high by producing citizens who pay taxes and obey the law.
- Good schools teach students from all backgrounds how to live and participate in our democracy.
Voting in a school board election is an investment in the future of all children, of your community, and of the nation.
Every child enrolled in your school district is a reason for you to vote in school board elections. Local school boards can impact the overall quality of your local schools, both now and in the future. You want the most qualified people in charge.
The Power to Pursue Excellence
The decisions made by the school board affect virtually every important aspect of local schools from boundaries to bus schedules, curriculum to clubs, and funding to field trips.
The Georgia Constitution requires that an elected school board oversee each school system. Members of a local school board are to "manage and control" and to make decisions on almost every aspect of public school operations. Each school board - as a whole - serves as the governing body. Individual board members have no authority outside of the board room.
Many of the day-to-day responsibilities for which school boards are responsible generally are delegated to the superintendent. However, responsibilities of a public school board also include, but are not limited to some duties that cannot be delegated, such as:
- Buying and selling school property (including the power of condemnation),
- Calling elections to authorize a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) and bond elections to authorize the issuance of bonded debt,
- Making the policies and rules necessary to govern the school system,
- Reorganize and consolidation of schools within their control, and
- Authority to hire employees on the recommendation of the superintendent.
More About Duties of School Board Members
For more information about what Georgia law says about local school boards, their roles, and their responsibilities, please refer to the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) website: http://www.gsba.com/. The Center for Public Education also provides important information about school boards and school board candidates.
The Right Person Makes a Difference
What qualities, skills, and experience should you look for in a school board candidate? Here are some questions to consider:
- What are the candidate's vision and goals for high academic achievement for all students?
- Does the candidate inspire parents and other stakeholders to have confidence in the local public schools?
- Does the candidate understand that the school board's role is about the big picture - setting the direction for the district and providing oversight and accountability - rather than day-to-day management?
- Does the candidate focus on one issue or discuss a broad range of school district concerns?
- Does the candidate's approach make it likely that he or she will be able to work effectively with the rest of the board to get things done?
- Will the candidate enhance the mix of skills and backgrounds on the board and help represent the diversity of the community?
- Does the candidate have the commitment to do what is right for all children, even in the face of opposition?
Qualifications for School Board Membership
In Georgia, there are actually very few qualifications for school board membership. Board members should be willing to serve and must reside within the school system's political boundaries.
In many instances, local laws prescribe additional qualifications such as residing within a particular war or election district. Check with the local board of elections for details. Beyond that there are few requirements for school board membership.
Georgia law actually provides more criteria for ineligibility for the office of local school board members than it does for eligibility. A person is ineligible to hold the office of school board member if the individual is:
- Not a resident of Georgia.
- Under the age of 21.
- Not a resident in the county in which the individual is seeking office for 12 months prior to the election or appointment.
- Employed by or serving on the governing body of a private educational institution.
- Employed by the Georgia Department of Education.
- Employed by the board of education the individual is serving on.
- The holder of another county office.
- A holder or receiver of public money that has refused to, or failed to, account for it or pay it over when asked.
- A convicted felon who has not been pardoned and is not the subject of a restoration of rights.
- Of unsound mind or unable to discharge the duties of the office because of advanced age or bodily infirmity.
- A publisher of schoolbooks, an agent of schoolbook publishers, or someone with financial interest in the sale of schoolbooks."
I know that this is a rather long post, however I publish it in the interest of informing all voters that our Georgia State School Boards Association has developed valid and appropriate information that we all should be aware of. Public Education is the backbone of our Economic Future here in Bibb County, Middle Georgia, the State of Georgia and the Nation. Within the State of Georgia 92 percent of our scholars are the product of public education. Thank You!!!
Published by Alan Thiese
Candidate for Post 8, Bibb County Georgia School Board