Frequently patrons will complain about public schools, but seldom take the necessary steps to bring about improvements. Contested school board races are rare in most districts.
The filing period for the Sept. 18 school board elections in the White Hall, Pine Bluff and Watson Chapel school districts runs from 8:30 a.m. Tuesday until noon July 10, when election petitions must be turned in at the county court clerkís office at the Jefferson County Courthouse.
The seats representing all seven positions within the White Hall and Pine Bluff district will be open.
In the White Hall district, five of the seven members run from designated zones adopted following the 2010 federal census, with two directors serving at-large. Pine Bluff board members run by zones.
The Dollarway board was dissolved June 12 by the Arkansas Board of Education, which also removed the superintendent after Dollarway High School failed to meet accreditation standards for two consecutive years. The Watson Chapel district operates under a federal court desegregation order, with only two seats to be contested in September.
While school board meetings are open to the public, giving patrons an opportunity to ask questions and raise issues they deem important, attendance at the monthly sessions is usually light unless a controversy has surfaced.
Board members are required to attend in-service training to keep up with state laws and regulations. The monthly salary for public directors is zero. Thatís not a typographical error. They are not paid for the hours they put in monthly.
Like parental involvement, the service canít be measured in dollars and cents.
Serving on a school board is an investment in the future of our children and grandchildren. We like to think they are worth the necessary investment in time and energy.