By Debbie Marques, a candidate for Board of Education on Nov. 3. Debbie was a member of the Board from 2006 to 2014 and served as president for two years. For more information about Debbie or to contact her, please visit marques4milfordboe.com.
As a former Milford School Board member with two terms under my belt, I was part of the team that transformed Milford to what it is today: a high-performing district that is so fiscally responsible it consistently spends less than the state average, one that is continually moving forward to serve our students and community.
For two years of my second term, I worked with a solid school board team consisting of George Lucas, a current candidate for school board, and current board members Dave Yockey, Andrea Brady, and Gary Knepp. I would like to re-assemble that team and help continue to take our district forward.
I wanted to take this opportunity to give you a glimpse into what we do as school board members, and to explain why I believe George Lucas and I are the best choices in this election.
Being an effective and conscientious board member takes a great deal of time and commitment. It can mean missing your child’s open houses, concerts, and ball games. When you run for the Board, you do so knowing that your priority is all of the students in the District, not just your own. While it may look like we just show up for board meetings once a month, effective board members who truly represent the community spend a great deal more time behind the scenes. I am one of those board members, as is George Lucas.
Each January, the Board splits up the Superintendent and Community committees so there are always two Board members on each Superintendent committee and at least one Board member on each Community committee. Click here for a list of the committees and to see which board member is assigned to various committees.
The Superintendent committees are particularly important, as administrative staff—and Dr. Farrell—discuss pressing issues that oftentimes need to be voted on at the board meetings. Why can’t all five board members attend every meeting? The Ohio Open Meetings Act prohibits a majority of board members to meet or discuss unless they are at a publicly announced meeting. Instead, they must rely on the Board members who attend the meeting to provide input that represents the community’s best interest. Every Board member receives a summary of the meeting and can discuss issues one-on-one with other board members prior to voting at the meeting. So you can see that if a Board member continually misses committee meetings, s/he is doing a poor job of representing the community. Both Mr. Lucas and I feel very strongly that attending these meetings is a priority–and our record shows this.
Staying up to date on trends in education
The superintendent and administrators provide critical information to the Board members so they stay current on important trends and changes, understand what other districts are doing, and become informed about the business of education. Both Mr. Lucas and I always take that extra step by researching on our own, attending continuing education for board members, sitting down with administrators for further clarification on complicated issues, discussing issues and ideas with other board members, and much more.
Evaluating the Superintendent and Treasurer
The superintendent and treasurer report directly to the Board of Education. It is the responsibility of all five board members to participate in the annual evaluation process. Not only do the superintendent and treasurer deserve to have this evaluation performed and to develop goals for the coming year with the board, the community deserves to have this yearly evaluation done of these two very critical positions. Both Mr. Lucas and I have worked in management positions and performed employee evaluations, so we are experienced in providing comprehensive, useful feedback to these two leaders. We spend the required time to provide the input needed for comprehensive evaluations.
Attending special board meetings and events
Board of Education members represent the community to the District. It is important they attend special events and continuously reach out to constituents. This means attending special board meetings, ground breaking ceremonies, art shows, football games, etc. Because of the time commitment, no one should run for the Board unless they plan to make this job a priority in their life. These events can conflict with personal events. Sometimes this means missing family events or programs. Of course, no one can attend everything, but there are certain times a board member’s presence is appropriate, no matter what. Although both Mr. Lucas and I have families, we are committed to making school board events a priority.
Having differing opinions
Finally, I am supporting George Lucas because he and I do NOT always agree. We often have differing points of view—and that is what you want in board members. We offer differing opinions to represent the community in different ways. However, we know how to determine what is best for the students and work together to find compromise.
So on election day, November 3, I ask that you vote for me and for George Lucas for the Milford Board of Education.