During the recent filings for elective office in Thurston County, there were 19 school board seats up for election or re-election.
And, of those 19 seats in 17 of them the incumbent ended up unopposed.
No opposition in 17 school board races. That’s incredible! In a society that questions everything the government does, we couldn’t find a few people to challenge incumbent school board members? This is the part of our local government which takes in and spends more money than almost every other facet of government – - and we couldn’t find anyone to be involved.
Why is it that no one runs for local school board positions?
The usual answer is that people are satisfied with the way their school runs.
But, I think it goes deeper than that.
Most parents don’t really understands how the state’s educational system works. They don’t know where the money comes from and they don’t know how the money’s spent. They don’t even really know who runs the school districts. Hint: It’s not the school board or the superintendent.
School board positions are not glamorous. People seeking higher elective office usually don’t start at the school board level – - with some exceptions. Former congressman and current insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler is the exception.
School board members have to be policy wonks. They have to delve into the details and they have to love to do homework.
And, school board meetings are boring – - really boring.
There’s not a lot of glamor and there’s a great deal of work involved.
No wonder people don’t want to run for their local school board. It’s hard work.