Trustee Time Commitment
What are the Time Commitments for a School Board Trustee?
Attending Board Meetings and Committee Meetings
Trustees are expected to prepare for, and participate in, all board meetings and all meetings of board committees of which they are members. Preparing for a board meeting by reviewing all the material can be time-consuming. Attendance at board meetings can be in person or through electronic means. Board meetings are not, however, the only time commitment for trustees. To get a full picture of board-related requirements, candidates should check with their local school board office.
Other duties at the School Board
There are other obligations for school board trustees to undertake in their role as a school board member. Some of these are statutory (meaning mandated by the province) and some are not. Statutory duties include the appointment of a trustee to various committees such as the Special Education Advisory Committee, to board-based quasi-judicial committees such as those responsible for conducting proceedings dealing with the suspension or expulsion of students, to the Audit committee, the Supervised Alternative Learning committee and the Parent Involvement Committee.
The board may also establish non-statutory committees or working groups as needed and these will have trustee membership.
Attending Community Meetings as a representative of the School board
One of a trustee’s key responsibilities is to facilitate communication between the board and community groups. Trustees may be asked to attend meetings such as: school council meetings, community groups, municipal councils and municipal committees, meetings with MPPs and MPs, and other community agencies such as district health councils and library boards. Community meetings are often held at night to enable working parents to attend.
Attending school events and community functions will give candidates a fuller picture of the role.
Responding to the concerns of parents and other community members
A trustee is often the first point of contact for parents and community members who have questions and/or concerns about their local school. While individual trustees do not have the authority to direct board staff to undertake any particular action they can help in answering questions, finding solutions or facilitating interaction with the school and board administration.
Responding to telephone calls or e-mails, meeting requests and queries from constituents is an important part of the trustee role and requires some time commitment.
Time commitments will vary but it is not uncommon for a trustee to spend an average of 15 hours per week on all the activities associated with the role.