A thank you to our school board members

By Dr. Marci Larsen, Superintendent | Feb 06, 2019

With about 2,500 employees and an annual operating budget of about $250 million, the Mukilteo School District is a large organization. In fact, out of the 295 school districts in the state of Washington, we are the 22nd largest with an enrollment of more than 15,000 students.

The school district is owned by the public and is directed by a group of five school board members who are elected by the voters to four-year terms in office. And, believe me; they are not doing it for the money. They can earn a maximum of only $4,800 per year for their work. In other words, they are involved because they are passionate about serving our community and because they strongly believe in the crucial role that public schools play in our society.

The five people who serve on the Mukilteo School Board come from many different walks of life and, although they are elected at-large by all the voters within the school district, each must live within five different geographical areas.

Judy Schwab, our longest-serving board member, was first elected in 1997 and is now on her fifth term in office. Mike Simmons was first elected to the board in 2011, John Gahagan was appointed to the board in 2011 and first elected to his seat in 2013, Kyle Kennedy is just wrapping up his first term on the school board, and Shaun Olsen was elected to the board in 2017. Simmons currently serves as the board president and Schwab is the vice president.

The school board has seven primary responsibilities: they establish policy for the school district, adopt the annual operating budgets, hire the superintendent to run the day-to-day operation of the school district, employ staff members who are recommended by the superintendent, adopt the school district’s mission statement and goals, and exercise other specific powers that are spelled out in state and federal law.

The school board’s authority comes only through the collective power of its members. All school board actions must be approved by a majority vote of the board members in open public sessions, which are typically held twice each month. The agendas of those public meetings are posted on the school district’s website at www.mukilteoschools.org.

The responsibilities of a school board member go beyond just those meetings, however. They become involved in education issues at both the state and federal levels and spend many hours keeping themselves informed. They also attend numerous school events to stay connected and visible within the community.

Being a school board member takes a commitment of many hours, but each will tell you that their task is very satisfying. If you attend a public meeting of the school board or happen to meet one of our school board members, please don’t hesitate to thank him or her for the valuable service they are giving our community and our schools.

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