Saturday, October 01, 2016

Vetting Candidates for Charleston County School District's Board of Trustees

Image result for voting blindly cartoon

Once upon a time school board candidates were known to the whole community of voters. Before the consolidated Charleston County School District emerged, pre-existing school districts voted for their own trustees, also known to those smaller constituencies. When CCSD forced candidates to run district wide (that is, county wide), constituencies lost their knowledge of the candidates: what voter living in Awendaw could vote intelligently on a candidate from North Charleston's Park Circle? 

The nonpartisan status of the positions meant that local political parties would encourage their adherents to run but did not necessarily mean those candidates went through any vetting. The abysmal weakness of our local rag to provide information on school board candidates has only exacerbated the problem. Apparently its editors see no reason to provide voters with information.

Most voters are left with names, pictures, incomplete biographies, and rumors. 

If CCSD were a small business, perhaps voting blindly wouldn't matter so much. Yet it is one of the largest employers in the county and provides jobs for thousands more maintaining, repairing, and building its infrastructure. 

More importantly still, CCSD must educate all of the county's children. Some will suggest that it is doing the best it can under difficult circumstances. 

Look around you. Should a county thriving as Charleston is have some of the worst schools in the state? There's no excuse.

Lack of knowledge about school board candidates makes problems worse. There must be a better way.

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