Thinking of running for school board?

Published 7:46 am Thursday, April 14, 2011

Want to become a school board member? There’s a class for that.

Since there’s four Austin Public School board positions up for reelection this November, district officials are setting up a free community education class that gives an overview of what a board member does.

“It’s more or less just to inform people about the role and responsibilities that come with being a board member,” said David Krenz, superintendent.

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This is the second time a school board class has been offered by the district, with the first being offered two years ago. It’s not a substitute for the training new board members go through but rather an opportunity to ask questions about being a board member from Krenz as well as Board Chairman Aaron Keenan.

The biggest preconcieved notion about board members is the amount of time board members spend deciding policy issues for the district, which comes as a shock to new members.

“A lot of people think it’s just the one school board meeting we have once a month,” Keenan said. “That’s a big misconception.”

Keenan, in his first term, said board members spend between 15 and 20 hours a month in meetings and working with school staff. New members can put in even more hours.

“The first year is just a huge learning curve,” Keenan said. He spent a lot of time his first year catching up on policies and other district issues. One of the most important lessons he learned was figuring out which policies were key to his committee assignments and his overall position.

“I didn’t even know to ask that question for the first three months,” he said.

The class will be offered at 5:30 p.m. May 10 at the district office conference room in Austin High School. Residents must be preregistered to attend. To register, contact community education at 507-460-1706.