The Wellington School Board passed its budget Monday, but there was a larger issue that needs attention.
Three of the seven board members did not show up, and no reason was given at the meeting.
This was budget night. It is arguably the most important meeting of the entire year for the school board. Having three members not show up should not happen.
They had a hearing as scheduled and then voted on the budget. Often this is done at the regular meeting – which was last Thursday – but this time it was done at a later meeting. Proper notice was given to all concerned before last Thursday. School officials said the date was changed in order to meet deadlines for publishing as required by the state.
I have a lot of respect for school board members as well as any locally elected official. They don’t get paid (or if they do it’s a very small amount) and they generally have a thankless task. They struggle with the state legislature that makes rules without considering the real world that school boards live in. They have to handle a lot of things and in general they do a good job.
But at the same time, when you run for office, you are pledging to represent the people who vote for you. At times this will not be easy, and sacrifices will be required.
While we respect the job school board members do, we also have expectations. One expectation is to read all the material and be prepared regardless of whether you get any sleep or not. The second expectation is to show up and to vote on critical matters.
Missing an occasional meeting is forgivable, but missing a vote on the budget is something that should not happen.
Short of a critical illness to the board member or immediate family, there really isn’t an excuse.
The school board’s job is to set policy and direct the financial interest of the district. Passing the budget is the most important thing they do and that happens just one time a year.
You might want to think about this the next time elections are up. When someone says they did not vote to raise taxes, make sure you find out if they were at the meeting.