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Our View: School board vacancies are opportunity for community




Of the dozens of board appointments city governments make on a regular basis, there are perhaps none as important as the men and women chosen to serve on the school board. 


Safe, successful neighborhood schools are the bedrock of any thriving community and the people we entrust to oversee the schools on behalf of the community play an essential role. Ultimately it is their choice, their decision that, in large part, determine the direction our schools will take. 


In Columbus, the five members of the board serve staggered terms and any time a position is open, the city council has an important choice to make. 


This month, the city council faces the important task of selecting as many as two positions. Angela Verdell announced last week that she will not seek re-appointment to the board while Currie Fisher, who has missed three of the last four board meetings, has decided she will not complete her current term, although that decision is not yet official. 


Obviously, filling 40 percent of board positions this month is an important task for the council. The importance of those choices are magnified with these appointments because the board is in the process of choosing a new superintendent of schools for the district after it chose not to renew Dr. Philip Hickman's contract, which expires at the end of June. 


While the board has oversight responsibilities and all administrators, teachers and staff are ultimately accountable to the board, the superintendent is charged with managing the day-to-day operations of our schools and is responsible for providing the vision and leadership for the city's schools. 


In a greater sense, however, the ultimate responsibility lies with the board. The person the board chooses as superintendent is the single most important decision they will ever make. 


Although the deadline for applying for board appointments is Wednesday, city officials say they will accept applications until Feb. 20, the earliest date the council can make the appointments. 


To date, three people -- Yvonne Cox, June Leigh and James Samuel -- have applied. We thank them for their civic spirit and commitment to our children. 


We also urge others in our community who have the same concern for the future of our schools and the skills, background and commitment to serve responsibly and independently as board members to apply for these important positions. 


The council needs to have a deep, talented pool of applicants from which to choose. The better the candidate pool from which the council will draw, the better choices it will make. The better the appointments for the board, the better choice the board will make in the search for a new superintendent. 


We know there are many in our community who have the right combination of character, skills and experience to serve our city well as member of the school board. 


For those people, their time has come. The future of our schools and community rely on them.



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