OUR OPINION: SCHOOL RACES | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

OUR OPINION: SCHOOL RACES

Switching to even-year elections

Posted: December 17, 2010 - 8:21pm

The more the merrier. That's a good attitude whether the subject is a festive holiday gathering or a school board election. The Brainerd School Board's decision last week to conduct even-year elections will result in greater turnout and consequently the involvement of more people.

The impetus for the change was a savings of $30,000 at a time when school board members are painfully aware that state cuts are likely to be coming soon.

Board member Chris Robinson cast the only dissenting vote arguing that it's important to have an election that's focused on education issues. He feared education issues will be placed on the back-burner when there is competition with the big money campaigns of statewide and presidential elections. Certainly something will be lost in the switch, but as it is the turnout for school board elections is extremely low compared to even-year elections. The ability to focus in on education issues has not drawn more citizens into the electoral process. It's unlikely the loyal voters who care about education issues will not vote in even-year elections and those who have skipped school elections in the past may learn a little bit more about our schools.

The challenge for Brainerd's school board, teachers, parents and this newspaper will be to make people aware of the important issues in education and how those issues affect their lives.