Why the school board should be elected in Prince Edward County

Published 12:46 pm Thursday, November 3, 2016

I’ve got several reasons why voters in Prince Edward County should choose a directly elected school board over the current appointed process on Tuesday at the polls.

A school board directly elected by the people offers a direct line to school board members, and in a way makes their actions more worthy to the voters and taxpayers.

Seeing a name on a ballot helps voters realize they have a choice in who operates and oversees their government that — in this case, a school division — is spending a majority of tax dollars, instead of hearing who the board of supervisors appointed, a process in which citizens have very little say.

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Under a directly elected school board, more citizens will have interest in seeking the positions, knowing that their neighbors, friends and fellow taxpayers will have the say, rather than just trying to placate eight men and women. They don’t have to apply to run or be interviewed by people appointed by a higher board, as they do now. They simply have to reside in the district and get the designated number of signatures to qualify.

There will be more democracy in Prince Edward should voters directly elect their school board. My favorite president, Franklin Roosevelt, said, “The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” Right now, in the context of the school board, the “rulers” are “government officials,” namely the supervisors.

The current appointment process shows inherent distrust of the voters to put the right members of the school board in place.

When is there reason to distrust the electorate to make the right choice in a fair election?

An elected school board, I think, would be much more responsive to the people they represent. The person that they either voted for or against is representing their interests, their tax dollars and the welfare and education of their children.

There’s a direct connection established here between he who represents and those represented.

JORDAN MILES is the senior staff writer for The Farmville Herald. His email address is jordan.miles@farmvilleherald.com.