Why School Board Elections Are So Important

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October 30, 2016 7:40 PM

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With all the hoopla surrounding the presidential election, along with the Indiana Senate and Gubernatorial races, it is important to your local community when you have a school board election.  The school corporation in my home town of Fishers, the Hamilton Southeastern Schools, will be electing three board members in this election.

But there are a number of school board seats up for grabs in the Central Indiana area.  Board elections are set for the Indianapolis Public Schools. Lawrence Township, Noblesville, and Carmel, just to name a few.

Why are school board elections so important?  Yes, you can argue that state and federal governments have a lot to say on education policy, but your local board is key for a number of reasons.

The local board hires and evaluates the school superintendent, who is the person making the key administrative decisions in your school system on a day-to-day basis..  The board acts to oversee the big decisions and the superintendent is the CEO for the schools.

Referendums are now an important component of school board decision-making with state law as it stands now.  Large building projects normally require voters to sign-off, and the board decides when to present that to the public for a vote.  If your local school system wants to augment the general fund support from the Indiana General Assembly, the board decides when to present the referendum and how much will be requested from the taxpayers.  These general fund referendum votes are good for seven years.

When casting your ballot, the school board election normally will come up on your screen after national, state and county races are presented to you as the voter.  My message to you is this – find out about your school board candidates.  Most have Facebook pages or Web sites. Determine which candidate is closest to your views and has the best experience to serve on your local board.

You will largely so no TV ads for your school board candidates, but that election may have a bigger impact on your local community that the presidential, governor or U.S. Senate races in 2016.

If you are unsure who the local school candidates are, check out your sample ballot at this link.

Bottom line, when you vote, include your local school board.

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