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Are You Up for Reelection This Year?

Stacy Bogard

By Stacy Bogard, CAE, MASB Assistant Director of Communications, PR & Marketing

DashBoard, March 21, 2018

It’s an election year and MASB’s Get on Board campaign is kicking off to encourage those interested in board service to start taking the necessary steps to get on their local ballot.

That includes current board members who are up for reelection. It is beneficial to your district to make your fellow board members and superintendents aware of whether or not you plan to run again. If you don’t plan on running, you and your fellow board members can use this time to find someone in your community to run for the seat before the filing deadline in July.

“If an individual board member wants to reach out to a friend or colleague they know and encourage them to run, that’s absolutely fine,” says MASB Executive Director Don P. Wotruba, CAE. “I think from a board perspective it would be almost like providing a job description—what do we need on this board right now that we’re losing from the person(s) who is leaving and actually ask for that by sharing the skillset of what you’re looking for on your board.”

In the last school board election in 2016, less than 5.4% of the available seats weren’t filed for at the filing deadline; a reduction from 10% in 2014.

MASB commissioned a poll in August 2017 through EPIC-MRA to ask general election voters in Michigan for their thoughts on running for a school board seat, including “Which of the following best describes the main reason why you believe school boards are having an increasingly difficult time attracting qualified candidates to run for school board positions?” The leading response, with 30% was the fact that boards have become too political; 20% were apathetic; 13% believed school boards are a waste of time and no longer relevant; and 10% said it’s too much of a time commitment or don’t have the time.

In addition, we asked, “Which one of the following reasons would most likely motivate you to run for your local board of education?” By far the leading response, with 46%, was “Ensuring all kids have a quality education” followed by “Giving back to your community” at 18% and 17% being undecided/refusing to answer.

MASB aims to change the tide of these answers and further reduce the unfiled seats number through an awareness campaign, including radio ads and public service announcements, social media outreach, providing members with recruitment tools, materials for potential candidates and more.

“We all know someone who possesses the necessary traits to be an effective board member and we need your help to get them on board,” encouraged Wotruba. “We need civic-minded, student-focused individuals like you to serve on school boards. This work is too important to have seats go unfilled.”

This year’s toolkit will be available soon on the MASB website. If you have any questions in the interim, please let us know at webmaster@masb.org or by calling 517.327.5900.

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