Over the past few years, have you questioned a public school curriculum that focuses a little too much on carbon footprints, social justice, and green energy and not enough on reading, writing, math, and science? Are you frustrated when your teen comes home from school to report that his teacher bashed our U.S. President in the classroom for the seventh time this year? Do you own a local business that is challenged to find a ready, reliable and trained workforce?
As a taxpayer, are you frustrated by the increasing costs to operate our public schools? Do you think it was wise for school boards to provide generous raises to certificated staff knowing full well they had no way to pay for those salary increases within existing tax revenues?
It’s our school and our money
As a community, we can reverse these trends by electing school board members who reflect our values. The curriculums being taught in our schools affect everyone, not just families with children in school. We are all paying to operate public schools. We keep the lights on, fund the salaries of school staff, pay for books, and school supplies. We also buy the property and fund school construction costs.
School boards make decisions that impact thousands of children
Locally, elected school boards set the vision and goals for the district. They adopt policies that give the district direction to set priorities and achieve those goals. School boards hire and evaluate the superintendent, and adopt and oversee the annual school district budget. These boards are made up of regular people just like you and me. They are responsible to the citizens who elect them. From time to time, it’s our job to remind them they work for us.
Make 2019 the year you step up to serve your community
Getting elected to a local school board will provide you with an opportunity to truly serve your community. You’ll have a seat at the table to impact positive change within our schools. You’ll acquire valuable experience as an elected policymaker and gain intrinsic knowledge about school district operations. However, don’t stay too long; serve one or two terms and then help identify reliable replacements that bring fresh perspective and energy to the board. Too many elected officials stay too long on the job. Remember, if it becomes a career, it’s not really about service.
Serving on a school board also provides citizens with a unique skill set suitable for potential runs to county office or legislative seats in the future. There are dozens of state legislators that started out as school board members.
School board races are low budget and are often won under the radar
Some of the lowest cost races in Clark County are for school board positions. For a couple of hundred dollars, you can build a website and buy several dozen yard signs. Don’t go it alone; invite your friends, family, and neighbors to help. Form an inner circle from people you trust to help create a platform that will be the basis of your campaign. Highlight your personal values and how those core values relate to the decisions you will make as a school board member. Tell the voters of the district what’s in your heart and why you want to make a difference. You will win your race with honesty and integrity.
If not now, when? And if not us, who?
Everyone can come up with a dozen reasons why they can’t run for office. Think beyond family, work and leisure time. Think about the results of leaving the school board position to another candidate who doesn’t reflect your values; leaving it to another who wants to continue an agenda of climate change, social justice, and higher property taxes. If people like us don’t step up to run now, when will we? How much more out of touch does the current system have to slide before we take positive action to return balance and accountability to our local school boards?
Make a pledge to run for a school position before by May 17
Head to the county’s website to see the list of school board seats that will be on this year’s ballot. The deadline to file is eight weeks away. To run for a seat on your school board, you must officially file for office during the week of May 13-17, 2019. Since there is no salary for school board members, there is no filing fee to run for school board. You may also call the Clark County Elections office at (564) 397-2345 to confirm which particular school district seat you reside in. When you commit to run, you’re setting a great example for your children and grandchildren. Do it today.