Electing a dedicated, visionary school board member is one of the best things you can do to support high-quality schools in your community. Over the past few years, we have seen clips of tense school board meetings with long lines of people ready to speak for or against a particular issue. But outside of those moments, when all eyes are on the school board because of controversy, many do not know what role a school board plays or can play in the life of students and our communities.
What Does A School Board Do?
School boards hire and supervise the superintendent, approve and monitor the school-district budget, plan and fund school facilities, serve as the community’s voice regarding school policy, and advocate for the district at the local, state and federal levels. These are vital duties that shape the lives of all the young people in their jurisdiction, so when you have the chance, voting in school board elections is important to work. School board decisions are vital to our children’s safety, education and future.
In Mississippi, school boards are formed in a few different ways. Some school boards are appointed, some are elected, and some have both appointed and elected members. All county districts, all consolidated districts, and two county-wide special municipal school districts elect their school board members. Most school board members in municipal school districts are appointed by their city council members or board of aldermen.
The decision to elect or appoint each member starts at the polls. Whether you vote for the candidate directly, like in this year’s election, or vote for the official who appoints them, you have the power. And you must use it.
Mississippi Civic Engagement Roundtable member, the Parents’ Campaign, a public education advocacy organization, has invited all candidates in competitive races to complete a candidate questionnaire so that voters can compare the candidates’ positions on important issues. The candidates’ answers can be found here. Researching candidates and making a thoughtful, informed decision could be the difference in creating a safe, nurturing educational environment for our children.
What’s At Stake for 2022
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