With so many challenges facing Maine schools these days, and with all of the excitement happening in local schools despite tighter finances, we are left wondering why the city of Belfast has had such difficulty finding people to serve on the RSU 20 Board of Directors.

Since the Nov. 2 election, two of the six seats required to fully represent the city have yet to be filled. In a community of more than 6,000 people, we are disappointed to see that no one has stepped forward to do such an important job. The city is the largest municipality in the nine-town district and is home to two of the district’s four secondary schools. With the weighted voting system now in place, the two empty seats mean the equivalent of more than 2,200 Belfast residents are currently unrepresented.

The school district accounts for more than half of what we pay in property taxes each year — in some communities, closer to three-quarters — and it’s the board’s job to manage the school district’s budget. Perhaps more importantly, the board defines the direction of local public education. These issues warrant full community representation on the board. In short, the vacancies need to be addressed immediately.

We can appreciate that people’s lives are filled with work and family obligations. And we understand the reluctance to take on the task of balancing the financial and educational needs of a school district as an RSU 20 director — let’s face it, it’s not a glamorous or high-paying position, and it is not a job that comes without criticism.

We know this, and the sitting directors and RSU 20 administration know it, too. That’s why, in recent years, the board has taken steps to minimize the amount of time directors are expected to commit to various meetings while also trying to work more efficiently. RSU 20 Superintendent Bruce Mailloux said meetings now have time limits, and committee meetings are usually held on the same nights as regular meetings.

“That was the number-one complaint we had from board members, was the number of nights they were out every week for board functions,” Mailloux said.

Our thought is, since the district and its directors have made some changes to make life easier for those who are serving, perhaps a few of our local citizens can find the time to serve.

Mailloux has asked those who may be interested to stop in at the city clerk’s office to learn more about how they might be appointed to one of the unfilled seats, and he also invited those curious about what the job entails to give him a call at 338-1960.

The job comes with training, after all, and no one is expected to know all there is to know about being a director when they first come on board.

What is most important is that the community has the people it needs to be fairly represented, and that those who come forward to serve come with a desire to help RSU 20 be the best it can be.