Saturday, April 20, 2013

EDITORIAL >> School elections still unchanged

A lot of money went into an unsuccessful campaign in the legislature to change school elections from September to election day in November. The theory was that moving the elections to when more people turn out to vote would make it more difficult to raise millage rates to spend on public schools.

The charter schools and big foundations were supposedly putting serious money behind the effort, but it failed mostly because school superintendents hated the idea.

The Arkansas Associ-ation of Educational Administrators, the Arkansas School Boards Association and the Arkansas Education Association opposed the bill. School superintendents in particular lobbied against the bill, and they were persuasive enough to kill the bill.

School superintendents are most often the community leaders who are respected and admired and are paid as well as doctors, lawyers and bankers.

Superintendents are more respected than the newspaper editors who editorialized in favor of the bill.

Special interests op-posed to public schools were pushing the bill too hard, which was another reason it failed. Superintendents and their boards like school elections in September, and we do, too, just as we like primaries in the spring. Voting two or three times a year might be too much of a bother for some people, but we don’t mind it all: Elections remind us of who we are and what we believe in and give us hope that maybe the people we vote for can make a difference for the better.

Unfortunately, residents in the Pulaski County Special School District cannot vote this year for a school board, which remains inactive while the district is under state supervision. But if you live in Lonoke or White counties, don’t forget to vote Sept. 17 for your school board.

—Garrick Feldman