From the desk of the Superintendent
Posted on 11/23/2015

First, let me thank Central 104's Superintendent, John Bute, for his recent article regarding parent teacher organizations.  He hit the nail on the head in regards to what they contribute to our schools and how the atmosphere and environment of our schools would be quite different without their direct involvement on virtually a daily basis.  


In a continuation of articles offering my appreciation for various groups that contribute greatly to the education of our children, I wanted to share a few thoughts regarding the significance of school Boards of Education to any district’s success.


Public schools.  Have you ever taken a minute to ponder the notion of what makes a school “public”?  Part of that ideal is educating everyone within your school district’s boundaries with the free and public education that the constitution dictates.  Come one, come all!  The other component, perhaps less often considered, is that the public elects representatives to oversee this important community link that we call the school Board of Education.


Boards are uniquely American and provide the conduit that delivers the community's values and will into its schools.  This truth implies that in our democracy, the functions and decisions of school boards are important. 


They are elected by constituents of the school district to manage and control district matters ranging from:

  • developing district policy and vision
  • approving curriculum
  • approving financial expenditures
  • hiring the superintendent
  • approving staff hires, resignations and terminations
  • ensuring that adequate facilities and equipment are available to support teaching and learning that occurs within the district
  • adopting and overseeing the annual budget
  • managing the collective bargaining process for employees of the district


The role of the school board, simply put, is to govern the school district.  Shiloh’s school board is comprised of seven men and women who selflessly contribute their time and talent to ensuring that our students receive a quality education in a seamless manner.


Please understand, this is an exceptionally diverse business to manage.  School finances, school policy, and the inner workings of personnel and state mandates make it different than most school board members have ever experienced in the world outside of education.  It takes literally hours for a school board member to prepare well for a single meeting.  And there's not just one monthly meeting to prepare for.  Additionally, there are subcommittees that meet where members must focus on finance, curriculum, technology, facilities and policies, etc... all adding up to quite a significant uncompensated time commitment. It becomes evident then that one school board member cannot do the job alone. Effective school board members contribute their unique talents while collaborating and working as a team with other board members. 


First and foremost school boards look out for students.  Education is not a line item on the school board’s agenda—it is the only item.  To recognize the outstanding efforts of the nearly 6,000 elected school board members throughout the state, November 15, 2015 is designated as “School Board Members Day” in Illinois.  This is an opportunity to build community awareness and understanding about the crucial role locally elected board of education members assume in a representative democracy.  Please join me in thanking these committed public servants for their work on behalf of the children, parents and families of Shiloh-O’Fallon school communities!