What does it take to serve on a school board?

Across the nation there are approximately 15,000 school boards, each addressing some of the same issues, some completely different.

Every year school board seats become available for district residents to step forward and take the oath to protect children and the schools’ best interests.

The requirements that are laid out for candidates seem easy enough, but what does it really take to be on the school board? Taking a look at the current Norwich Board of Education, The Evening Sun has gathered some answers to that difficult question.

“It takes a certain type of individual, for sure,” said Board President Robert Patterson, who has served on the school board 10 years total. “I do it for the love of the children and for the challenge of being part of my community,” he said. “The children never cease to amaze me.”

Patterson spends roughly three to four hours a week as well as “seat time” to attend two meetings each month. He said it takes all types of people to make the board function.

Being one of seven board members, Patterson says the community can have difficulty understanding that when matters are brought in front of the board, it takes time to explore issues and the response is not generally immediate. “The board is just one of the many avenues complaints and other information channel through,” Patterson said. “We are one of many. Our team includes seven board members, the superintendent, the deputy superintendent, administration, teachers support staff and the community at large.”

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