Friday, May 11, 2012

School Board elections could become nonpartisan

On another post Anonymous wrote:

School Board Elections Could Become Nonpartisan

Essential Public Radio

Under the bill, candidates for the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board would need 200 signatures. Pennsylvania law currently requires candidates to gather just ...

Ring very true for great Pittsburghers to run-No more Primaries and party politics.

A state Senate committee is considering a new bill that would eliminate primary elections for school board races, and omit those candidates’ party affiliations from general election ballots.
Senate Bill 327 also increases the number of nomination signatures required to run for school board, depending on the size of the district. Under the bill, candidates for the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board would need 200 signatures.

Pennsylvania law currently requires candidates to gather just ten signatures to launch a campaign for any school board.

If a political party is paying the expense to getting you elected, then you have an obligation — perhaps, I should say, you have an obligation back to that party when issues come up,” said Dinniman.

He said the mixture of politics and education usually ends up hurting students.

Senator Dinniman argued that the nonpartisan election process has been adopted by a majority of states with no ill effect. Dinniman said Pennsylvania’s current system has “scared away” talented people from running for school boards. He said it is intimidating to make one’s case before a local party committee when the candidate’s campaign has little to do with partisan politics.


Anonymous said...

Sounds good BUT, the most corrupt system for school board members was when they were appointed -usually by politicians. So without the funding of the major parties, how are these non partisan perspective members going to "get the word dout etc.? Someone always pays the piper-- yes, they could pay for it themselves- limiting it to the well-funded, or special interest groups--alot to think about especially in a city that has had these things done in every way.

Questioner said...

The major parties don't do much to fund school board elections.

Mark Rauterkus said...

To poke the election process and jolt our frail democracy in this civic landscape is a worthwhile activity.

Parties generally do not do much 'funding' of political campaigns.

In TN, everyone from Mayor on DOWN, (not Gov, not Congress) are NOT allowed to reveal their political party. It is an interesting concept. But, it needs teeth.

Problem: We need more candidate forums, candidate debates, town hall meetings, and opportunities for the candidates to get out and communicate ideas before larger groups of voters who have not already made up their minds. Getting time on CABLE TV, for example, 15-minutes for each candidate, could do wonders.

Mark Rauterkus said...

To combat Lame Duck members of the board, then don't hold any meetings or hold any votes from the time after the election. I agree that the lame duck backlash is a great threat. But, fight lame ducks by doing away with any votes from lame duck board members. Don't fight lame ducks by doing something else that has nothing to do with the problem.

Speed the time it takes to certify the election. One the elections are certified, allow for the board to re-establish itself to take care of new and existing business with those elected to those posts -- even months before the term would start, but after the election.

Anonymous said...

This s Broad/Gates 101

First paragraph:

"Are elected school boards equal to the challenges of twenty-first century urban school governance? Eli Broad (2003), founder of the Broad Prize for Urban Education, has argued, "I believe in mayoral control of school boards or having no school board at all. We have seen many children benefit from this type of crisis intervention. . . .You should craft legislation that enables school board members to be appointed by the mayor . . . [and] limit the authority of school boards." Chester E. Finn Jr. has written, "School boards are an aberration, an anachronism, an educational sinkhole. . . .Put this dysfunctional arrangement out of its misery" (quoted in Elizabeth 2006

Lisa Jones 4 School Board said...

During my campaign for PPS board member, I addressed this exact concern. School board elections should be nonpartison. Board members should be elected upon their merits not upon their party affiliation. When you vote for the individual, the elected board member is accountable to you. When you vote for the party, the elected board member is accountable to the party. Don't give up YOUR voice.

Party politics has no place in making educational policies and school based decisions for ALL our children. Our children should not be used as pawns in party power grabs.

Most of all, education is an inalienable right. It is up to the individual not to the State or Federal government. Therefore, decisions should be made at the local level. Afterall, who would know the communities the schools are serving better? This would allow families and community members to have a louder and stronger voice in educational decisions.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Appointed board members in government stink, and I fight that until the cows come home.

I think we should have NO Authorities. I think with the authorities we have should have RETENTION VOTES, so that they can keep their posts after being appointed, much like is done for judges.

Anonymous said...

The citizens of the community must have a voice in determining who is on the school board. I would NEVER opt to give up my right to vote. Just because one is a mayor does not equate with one's ability to understand the operation and management of a school system yet alone curriculum, evaluation, and student performance. Our elected officials are held accountable to the voters.

Anonymous said...

Also, an appointed board can not levy taxes. The city council here would take on the taxing (and thus, really, the budgeting) for the schools.

That doesn't seem like a great idea either.