POV | School Board Races Need More Competition (5/8/14)
As one of the nation's largest school systems, the Jefferson County Public School system touches the lives of just about every resident of Jefferson County in a number of ways. And whether the topic is busing, graduation rates, school discipline or teachers unions, there's always plenty of debate over which policies will best serve the needs of the kids and the community.
Just about everyone seems to think they have the solutions to the problems that ail the system. So why then does it seem so hard to get qualified people to run for the school board?
As things now stand, four board seats will be up for election this fall. And none involve more than a single candidate.
This isn't meant as a slap to those who are running. Regardless of their positions on the issues, they're the exceptions for whom we should be grateful. But considering the influence that's wielded by just seven elected board members in all, I wish there were more people competing for these spots.
Well-populated school board races would generate public debate, analysis of critical issues, and - above all - interest and involvement among all voters in November. Which, in turn, would mean far more accountability on the part of those elected.
The Jefferson County School Board has the power to shape this community in the most fundamental ways. And the more qualified people we have vying for that power, the better.