The School Board and Its Impact
A school board is the governing body of the school district. The board serves (via election) the public's interest and should demonstrate an understanding of the financials, curriculum and obligations of the local, public school system.
School board members are non-partisan.
They are a group of 7 people who sit on your local school board and are the oft unseen decision-makers in your child’s schooling. They are responsible for the delegation and oversight (some boards do more hands-on than others) for the quality of the buildings your children spend their days in; selecting the textbooks your child reads; the online programs your child logs countless hours on. They assess safety procedures during emergencies; and even choose the bus company that ferries your child home. They interact with the educators and teachers' union, and allocate funds and resources to ensure educators have the resources they need to educate. They maintain relationships with all parties, including city and the county officials.
Specific duties include: hiring and evaluating the district's superintendent, adopting policies that will affect the district, serving as an independent judicial and appeals body to resolve conflicts, managing the collective bargaining process for the district's employees, allocating funds to programs and district operations, determining levies for the local property owners in the district. They are also where the buck stops: they decide whether or not the superintendent is doing her job. The board should be independent of the superintendent, they cannot be an employee of the school district and should represent the diversity of the community.
Board members should reflect a diverse skill-set as well: management and understanding of a multi-million dollar (over $100M) budget, personnel management capabilities; strategic leadership capabilities to set vision and mission for the district, and setting practical guidelines for transforming the vision into reality; and demonstrate accountability for the fiscal and academic performance of the district as a whole (high academic standards, transparency and accountability). Everything that happens within the district, rolls up to the school board and they are ultimately accountable.
Board members are elected by the community. Each member should listen and be responsive to the community's concerns. No one board member may act in a decision-making capacity alone--even the chair. Voting for board members who truly represent the community, and who are impartial, maintain independence, and have the necessary skills to lead and manage complex organizations, is critical. Parents don't always realize that the impact of changes to their child's education are often a direct result of a direct decision by the board in some capacity--sometimes the impact is felt immediately, and sometimes years later.
Questions you should ask when determining who should sit on your school board:
- Does the board primarily focus on solving the district’s biggest challenges or spend most of their time on less important matters?
- Does the board listen to their employers, namely, YOU.
- Are the members able to discuss difficult topics with impartiality in the public, dive down to find answers, solutions, and have open discussions?
- Are the board members independent of relationships with the school district, and with its employees, and free of conflict? Is the board able to be truly impartial when it comes to oversight of the district and district administration leaders?
- Do they work in a strong partnership with the public? With the city and county?
- If there have been conflicts or concerns brought to them from the community, have they been responsive and respectful in their response?
- Does the board demonstrate a commitment to public education, that every child is deserving of an outstanding education?
- Does the board take accountability for its action, reflect on success and failures for continuous improvement in an open, transparent manner?
- Does the board have the business, financial, public education and management experience to do their jobs?
Why vote for Mary Frantz
Mary has extensive experience on multiple boards, both profit and non-profit. She has managed nearly $1B in budgets, hundreds of employees and has experience working in primary, secondary, post-secondary and graduate education. She has demonstrated that she can ask questions of all parties to understand the issues and isn't afraid to speak up when the situation requires. She has demonstrated, through 30 years of experience, that she is able to work with others. She has no tolerance for unethical behavior, conflicts of interest, mistreatment or bias. She reaches out, she listens and learns. She even reviews how other school districts across the nation create solutions and manage the ever-changing educational and national landscape in constant learning. She pays close attention to the legislation at the local and federal level because a large percentage of the district's funding and mandates arise from the government.
She is independent of any prior relationship with other board members, and she is running independently. She will vote independently, and be open to the public, other board members, the district, educators, and the entire community to listen to concerns and needs, and work with the district to find solutions.
Mary has a diverse background and understands first-hand the issues facing underserved and under represented populations.. She has over a decade of experience working with, and volunteering for, multiple organizations within our cities and counties that service, mentor and provide technical job training to people of color, indigenous populations, women and veterans. She also provides STEM education at both the secondary level as well as at community and highly ranked universities and law schools where she teaches both regular instruction, law school seminar series and technology "boot camps."
This district needs common sense leadership who will represent the community and students, ensure educators have the tools, staff support, and resources to be successful.