Morgan County School Board President Bruce Galbraith presented findings from the Utah School Boards Association regarding what makes a good school board member.
He said the right person makes a difference, as does the kind of board you have. For example, if board members are always fighting against each other, little gets done.
But that is not the case on the Morgan County School Board, despite a tumultuous past about 15 years ago, Galbraith said.
“I honestly think we work together,” Galbraith said at the June 10 school board meeting. “We have our differences, but we are unified in our decisions.”
The role of a board member is to represent community members and tax payers while deciding how children are educated and how tax money is spent. It is an advantage that the school board is nonpartisan, Galbraith said. “It keeps the politics out of it.”
He also said it is fortunate that the current board has members from different backgrounds and with different talents.
A good board member must inspire parents and other stake holder to have confidence in local public schools. To do that, board members must keep the big picture, or vision and goals for high academic student achievement, in mind at all times and keep away from micromanaging day-to-day affairs, Galbraith said.
The board’s responsibility is to hire a good superintendent to manage those day-to-day affairs and ensure he has the tools needed to succeed, he said.
Galbraith said the board should also remain accountable to constituents as well as students. Board members should strive to be well rounded and avoid special interests.
Galbraith, an incumbent running to retain his seat in Tuesday’s primary election, admitted education is a hot topic lately.
“Never has public education been so important or under such scrutiny,” he said. “We need to be better trained, more prepared, more engaged in helping one another look at the bigger picture.”