Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
As those ballots are showing up, and you're considering who you're going to vote for be sure you don't miss your local school board elections.
In fact, these candidates may be the ones you know the least about with the possible exception of the Judges that appear on the Florida ballot.
Actually, school board members are some of the most important elected public officials in your County. They control the school systems both from a business an academic perspective; they pick who the school superintendent will be; and they also hear your grievances,, complaints, requests, and criticisms of the schools and the people who manage them teach in them and operate them.
It would be a very good idea to go to your local newspaper and check the candidate recommended list and see who they are recommending for your local school board members. In addition, it would be an even better idea if you spend some time actually researching the candidates for your local school board.
These elections for school board members are generally nonpartisan but these days no election is really nonpartisan.
There are also a lot of people with special interests desiring to elect a voice that echoes their sentiments and feelings as it comes to the school board and dealing with what are going to be very difficult issues in the future such as financing, budget cuts, and requests for property tax increases.
That last item, property tax increases, is going to come front and center right after November third (3).
If you've been following the news, you may have already seen some of the school superintendents in some of the larger districts such as Hillsborough and Pinellas County beginning to lay the groundwork to request for a property tax increase to fund the public school system.
You should find out how potential candidates and incumbents feel about the funding challenges that their specific school boards are going to be facing in 2021 and 2022.
Be a bit careful when you're picking a candidate for school board to vote for in regard to who endorses them such as the teachers union that supports them and what their actual reason for running for the school board may be.
Many people run for school board out of a grievance perspective where they are either unhappy with something that's happened to one of their children in the school system, or they're just generally opposed to the whole prospect of charter schools or public education or some other one issue. These people rarely do a good functional job serving for multiple years on the school board.
Even though the presidential race or your local, state or US House of Representative race or a Senate race may be your passion as it evolves in this particular election cycle, don't give a passing vote to a school board candidate that you don't know anything about .
There is way too much at stake.
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