Board of Education Elections Matter
This evening, there is a “back to school” fundraiser for the West Hartford, CT Democratic Board of Education candidates.
When is the last time you helped with a Board of Education campaign, or attended a Board of Education meeting in your area? Unless you are very involved politically, or live in an area where the Board of Education is arguing whether science can be taught in school, the odds are, you haven’t paid a lot of attention to what is going on in your Board of Education.
Yet Board of Education Elections can matter a lot. On the simplest level it is a great way for people to get involved with their communities and with politics. People often start off on Boards of Education before moving on to higher offices.
As I’ve been writing about the Avery Doninger case, I’ve been getting into a lot of discussions about school boards. Several years back, my father-in-law, a retired Special Agent for the U.S. Treasury Department was on a committee investigating numerous issues around a school board where there was an over budget construction project and very high billing from the school district’s attorney. It reminded me a bit of the Doninger case, and it highlighted the need for better oversight of school boards.
Some of this oversight should be coming through our local media covering school board meetings, but unfortunately too often they go without adequate coverage. I attended the Region 10 Board of Education meeting last week and intend to cover school board meetings in my new town. I hope more bloggers will cover school board meetings.
Here in Connecticut, there are three school boards that particular jump out at me as needing more coverage. The first is the Wilton School Board. Last school year, students were forbidden to perform a play, “Voices in Conflict” at school. It was later performed away from the school, but the saga continues. We need to pay close attention to what this school board does.
The Wilton Bulletin reported that school board member Robert Garland’s passed away on July 25th, and has been replaced by James Furnivall after the school board held a special meeting to vote on a replacement. In addition, they report that Furnivall is on the November ballot as a Democrat, and the Republicans are contesting this.
You can find the list of members of the Wilton School Board, along with their email addresses, agendas and minutes on their website. The website also states that “The six-member board is elected for four-year staggered terms. “
The Secretary of State’s Register lists all of the board members, with the exception of Chair Karen A. Birck and the late Robert Garland as being up for re-election in the 2007 cycle.
Another school board to be watching closely in Norwich. Many of you may remember the Julie Amero case. Julie was the substitute teacher convicted of four counts of risk of injury to a minor before her conviction was vacated last June. All nine seats on the board of education are up for election in November. The list of all nine members, and the time of their regularly scheduled meetings can be found on the Norwich website.
Since I’ve been putting a lot of my energy into the Avery Doninger case, I’m particularly interested in the Region 10 school board. According to the Burlington Town Website, the Region 10 Board of Representatives is comprised of 6 Representatives from Burlington and 4 Representatives from Harwinton. The six seats in Burlington are all up for election in November. Harwinton has a different schedule, with four members, each one serving a four-year term on a staggered schedule. My understanding is that the Harwinton board members are elected at a town meeting, and the town meeting selecting the board member for this year has already taken place.
So, spend a little time checking around. There may be a school board near you that needs a little oversight and a little more focus on its upcoming elections.
(Cross posted at MyLeftNutmeg)