Monday, April 13, 2009

School Board Competition Dwindles

Adam Hollier has withdrawn from running for AAPS school board.

I don't know any of the candidates, so this (broad) statement is not targeted at any of them, but:

I know there are people who are not happy with their schools--I hear from them.
I know there are people who think we could do things differently.
Yet there is no competition for most of the school boards in the county.

Which is too bad. Especially since the people I have talked to who have been on school boards have uniformly told me that they found it to be interesting, and some have even used the word "fun." (I kid you not.)

I think we need to ask why people don't run for school board. At least for me (some people have said, well if you are interested and blogging about the schools, why don't you run for school board), it comes down to two things: time, and money.

The time is significant (at least in larger districts). Estimates I've heard for Ann Arbor are in the "15 hours on a light week, and 25 hours on a heavy week" range.

The money is (at least in Ann Arbor) very insignificant. Currently it is $130 per calendar month.

The combination of a high workload, with a very low compensation rate, means it is challenging to be on the school board while working and raising a family. Obviously, some candidates don't work, or don't work full-time; other candidates don't have kids at home--but if you need to make more than $3/hour, it might be difficult to be on the school board. It seems to me that such low compensation reduces our pool of candidates.

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