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Zoom program reveals responsibilities of school board members

Mike Jaquays
Staff writer
Posted 3/24/23

There is much more to becoming a member of the local school district’s board of education than simply sitting in on a meeting or two a month, said a Madison-Oneida BOCES Board of Education member.

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Zoom program reveals responsibilities of school board members


There is much more to becoming a member of the local school district’s board of education than simply sitting in on a meeting or two a month, said Madison-Oneida BOCES Board of Education member Sue Carvelli.

“People might be thinking they will just have to do a few meetings a month but the expectations are actually so much more,” explained Carvelli, who is also a former board of education member for the Rome City School District.

The Oneida-Madison-Herkimer Counties School Boards Institute (OMH-SBI) will explain those expectations in full in its “How to Become a School Board of Education Candidate and What to Expect If Elected” program from 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28 online via Zoom. Check-in is from 5:30-6 p.m. using the Zoom invite participants will receive before the program.

Interested attendees need to register in advance by contacting OMH-SBI Coordinator for Board Training James VanWormer at 315-941-6229 or or OMH-SBI Secretary for Board Training Sue Pontius at 315-867-2610 or

The program starts with a welcome and introductions from OMH-SBI President Robert Batson, who also serves as the president of the Poland Central School District’s Board of Education.

The process and timeline for becoming a board of education candidate will be presented, exploring the filing of petitions, making financial disclosures, election results, joining the board if elected and meeting the training requirements for both New School Board of Education Training and Fiscal Oversight Training.

Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Central School District Board of Education President Thomas Moats with discuss the roles and responsibilities of school board members. Batson will then invite questions and comments to conclude the program.

Moats has been on the VVS school board for 21 years and is serving his second term as president. He said he joined after asking if there was anything he could do for the district and being told to run for the school board. He ran and won that election.

“Even then, I didn’t really know exactly what school board members did,” Moats recalled.

His presentation will help potential candidates know what to expect as a board of education member, he explained. Moats will give an overview of what the responsibilities are if someone runs and what the responsibilities become if someone is elected, he said.

The OHM-SBI training might even show someone that membership on a school board is not meant for them, and that is OK too as it clears the way for someone else to run, Moats added.

Board member candidates need to understand their duty is to let the district’s administration know the needs of all the district residents, he stressed.

“We are there to be the voice of the community to the administration,” he said. “We are there to represent the people and give their kids the best education possible.”

The OMH-SBI is committed to promoting interaction and cooperation among its member boards as they pursue excellence in the education of all of their students. The primary goals of the OMH-SBI are advocacy, communication between its members and its member schools and providing education for school board members themselves.

The general membership includes 32 individual school districts overseen by Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES in Herkimer, Madison-Oneida BOCES in Verona and Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES in New Hartford.

Carvelli recalled feeling the motivation to join the Rome school board from a situation involving her own child and the district. She soon found, however, that being a board member went way beyond any personal concerns.

“Some people will get on to make a change, but they need to understand they are now just one of nine members and they are there to represent everyone,” Carvelli said. “What they decide affects everyone in the school district.”

For more information on the Oneida-Madison-Herkimer Counties School Boards Institute, visit


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