School board elections, for the most part, are the least exciting of elections. While county and city races often heat up and generate political fervor school board races usually offer sober discussions about curriculum and education funding.
If political races were likened to a high school class school board elections would probably be the class nerds: polite, studious, attentive and utterly non-controversial. The up side of this stereotype is that school board candidates engage in civil debate on important education issues. The candidates are usually people who are interested in quality education and in the welfare of students.
The down side is that school board elections are often ignored by the electorate. In a nation where voter turnout is pathetically low, school board elections probably have the lowest turnout. People who would never dream of skipping a presidential election often pass on deciding which men and women should set policies that will directly their own children. Any citizen who cares about his or her community should take a strong interest in school elections, whether they are parents or not. Employers will tell you that when talented professionals are being lured to a new job the first question they usually ask is about the quality of the area schools.
Area school district residents are fortunate to have plenty of candidates who are willing to offer serve on school boards. The Brainerd School District is fortunate to have 10 candidates running for three available spots. Similarly, Pillager School District has eight candidates for three spots and Pequot Lakes has eight candidates for four openings. The abundance of interested candidates is one sure sign of a healthy school district -- one where residents are connected with their school district and willing to work for better schools.
And school board candidates often go on to bigger political offices. Witness the careers of Gov. Rudy Perpich and President Jimmy Carter, which both started with their election to school boards.
Tuesday is election day for many area school districts and a few cities. The candidates have done their part by stepping forward. The only missing component is people who care enough about their school system to cast a ballot.
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