SCHOOL BOARD REORGANIZATION
The School Board met on Monday, January 12, at a regular meeting. The focus of the first part of the meeting was the reorganization required with the installation of board members elected in November. I would like to use this week’s space to cover some items from the meeting.
INSTALLATION OF BOARD MEMBERS
In the November election, the ROCORI District had three school board seats open and three candidates for the positions. Tim Lieser had chosen not to seek re-election. Candidates on the ballot were Rick Bohannon, Lisa Demuth and Kara Habben. All three were elected to the school board.
Terms of school board members follow the calendar year. As such, Tim’s term on the school board expired at the end of 2014. The board members elected in November are installed into office at the first meeting of the new calendar year.
Rick, Lisa and Kara took the Oath of Office at the start of the meeting on January 12. The Oath of Office is a formal statement and commitment from the board members related to filling the duties and responsibilities of the office.
The pledge made by board members is, “I do solemnly affirm that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Minnesota. I affirm that I will discharge faithfully the duties and responsibilities of the office of school board member of ROCORI School District No. 750 to the best of my judgment and ability. Having signed the acceptance of office and oath of office, I hereby publicly affirm my commitment to the oath of office.”
As a district, we like to make the Oath of Office a little more formal in nature. We have a very brief ceremony to sweat the board members into office.
EXTENDED OATH OF OFFICE
The commitment or pledge made by board members indicates each member has “signed the acceptance of office and oath of office.” That is part of a longer document that outlines the duties and responsibilities entrusted to the school board members.
Although we don’t ask the chair to read the entire document, we do read through a significant portion of the Oath of Office. Reading through the broader oath serves as a great reminder of the responsibilities and expectations placed upon board members.
The extended Oath of Office reads as follows:
“It is an honor that you were elected to guide the education of the ROCORI community’s children. As you accept this office, you assume a tremendous responsibility as a director of our school district to fulfill the duties delegated by the Minnesota Legislature. These duties and responsibilities place you, and the other members of the school board, in a position of being both morally and legally responsible for equitable, quality education of every student in the ROCORI district.
“In carrying out this responsibility, you are asked to engage in your role with vision, structure, accountability, and advocacy. The board, with extensive participation of the community, envisions the community’s educational future and then formulates the goals, defines the outcomes, and sets the course for the public schools.
“To achieve the vision, the board establishes a structure and creates an environment designed to ensure all students the opportunity to attain their maximum potential through a sound organizational framework.
“Because the school board must be accountable to the community, the board must ensure a continuous assessment of student achievement and all conditions affecting the education of our children. Board members serve as education’s key advocate on behalf of students and community to advance the vision for our schools.
“Furthermore, board members must strive to work together with the superintendent and educational staff to lead the district toward fulfilling the vision created. Board members must work together to foster excellence for every student in the areas of academic skills, general and specific knowledge, citizenship, and personal development.”
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
In addition to the installation of the elected board members, the reorganizational meeting also includes election of officers and assignment of board members to committees. There are four officer positions within the ROCORI School Board—Chair, Vice-Chair, Clerk and Treasurer.
The officers chosen for 2015 did not change from the previous two years. Nadine Schnettler will continue to serve as Chair of the School Board. Lynn Schurman is the Vice Chair. Lisa Demuth is the Clerk. Mike Austreng will serve as Treasurer. Rick Bohannon and Kara Habben serve as Directors.
The ROCORI School District has a fairly extensive committee structure and board members serve on a variety of committees or as a representative of the district. I won’t go into detail on the committee structure, but there was a good discussion about these assignments and duties at the Board meeting.
Assuming a position on the School Board is a significant and important responsibility. The ROCORI School District has traditionally treated the installation of board members, the selection of officers, and the assignment to committees seriously. As the Oath of Office indicates, board members are in position “of being both morally and legally responsible for equitable, quality education of every student in the ROCORI district.” That is a high calling and responsibility.