Last night, York Suburban School District hosted a session on “What you need to know about serving on a school board.”
The session gave some potential candidates from various districts a bit of an inside look at the good, the bad and the ugly of the elected position – which does not come with any pay, as was pointed out during the meeting.
Sometimes, you’ll lose
Clancy said that sometimes, as a board member, you might disagree with the majority of the board. But there’s no room for sour grapes.
“Once the board acts, you have to get on board,” she said.
What you can’t control
Several times during the meeting, board members lamented the lack of control they find they have over some of the bigger issues facing their districts.
Clancy said that a point she felt she “slammed into a brick wall” came as she sat in on legislative discussions. Her single biggest frustration was realizing that the state’s school funding formula “is just horrible.”
“It does a great disservice to those school districts in York County that are growing,” she said. York Suburban has roughly 3,000 students but is compensated for about 2,000 because the funding formula hasn’t been updated since 1991, she said. But there aren’t enough votes in the legislature to change things.
Debating a student’s future
Wolfgang said the most unenjoyable part of the position is when the board has to determine whether to kick a student out of school. Sometimes, they have no choice, depending on what the student has done.
“You hold that person’s future in your hands,” he said. You know that it’s going to have a big detrimental effect on that person’s life, he said.
“I do not like that part of being a school board member at all,” he said. “But it’s something you have to do.”
Team of 10
Wolfgang said the board and superintendent have to be able to work together as a “Team of 10.”
“You cannot be at odds with your superintendent for a very long period of time, that’s for sure,” he said.
Always on the clock
Wolfgang talked about the importance of communication. His home number’s in the book and on his business card. Sometimes someone from the newspaper calls, he said, and he tries to answer their questions or direct them to someone who can.
“If somebody wants to talk business, I’m never really off the clock,” Wolfgang said.