School board members learn ropes

By Brenna Swift, The Union Democrat April 05, 2013 12:43 pm

Tuolumne County school board members will gather at the Sonora High School library Saturday for a workshop on running school districts effectively. 

The workshop, which is open to the public, will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m and include a presentation from Leslie DeMesserman of the California School Boards Association. 

County Superintendent of Schools Joe Silva said the workshop is the brainchild of Juliana Feriani, a Tuolumne County Board of Education member who represents the area of Summerville Union High School District, Summerville School District and part of Soulsbyville School District. 

About 25 local school trustees will attend Saturday’s event, along with staff from the Tuolumne County Office of Education. 

Elected school boards vote on budgets, student discipline, hiring, and legal cases involving their school districts. They set the priorities that district superintendents carry out. 

Feriani said being a school board member is harder than it looks. 

“It means knowing how your community feels on a certain topic and knowing your constituents and the history of your area,” she wrote in an email to the Union Democrat. “Few people are born board members; most need some training to fulfill their duties.” 

Feriani said a local training session for board members will eliminate the travel expenses that usually come with training events, distributing other costs between school districts. 

She envisioned the workshop as a networking event for board members from separate districts, who are rarely in the same place at the same time.