What’s it like to be a board member for 33 years?

I called Earl Miller, the Dallastown Area School Board member who resigned in January, this week.
He’d been on the school board for 33 years. earlmiller.JPG
Miller said that when he first ran for school board in 1978, he was already active in the schools. He and his wife had six kids in the district, and he served on the PTA and helped out with various school events.
“We were just always a part of it,” he said. “My wife and I made it a real part of our life.”
Miller saw superintendents come and go, new schools spring to life, and new school laws handed down from the state.
As a board member, “You really do feel like you have an opportunity to have some input as to what’s happening,” he said. “I don’t know that I really made any difference.” (But he did get some nice notes from community members after resigning, he said.)
There are, of course, times board members don’t agree on things. It’s no reason to get disgruntled, he said.
“But you have time to sit down and discuss it at board meetings, see what’s best for the community,” Miller said. “You’re not doing it for one kid in school, it’s all our neighbors’ kids, our brothers’ kids.”

It can get overwhelming to make so many decisions in the course of a meeting, he said. Members of the community want to bend your ear in different ways.
“I never really felt like it was a chore to go. Some nights were tougher than others,” he said. “I always wanted to be a board member.”
Miller said he thinks salaries are the most pressing issue facing the district now. They have to be balanced against the needs of taxpayers.
“We all kind of get tired of all the taxes,” he said. “How do we say ‘oh yeah, that’s enough.'”
As to why he resigned, Miller said just that he’s getting older. He’ll soon be 75.
“That’s all I need to say about that,” he said.
Miller and his wife have eight grandchildren still in school, some in the Dallastown district, so he’s likely to remain a familiar face at school events.

About Angie Mason

I'm the education reporter at the York Daily Record/Sunday News. I want to know what's happening inside York County classrooms. Email me at amason@ydr.com or follow me on Twitter: @angiemason1
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