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Letter: Take partisanship out of school board races

There’s no denying it - I’m a very active, liberal Democrat. And yet over the years, I’ve voted for several school board members who are active, conservative Republicans. And that’s because what’s best for our schools does not lie in partisan politics. Rather, it lies in well-intentioned people who can represent the fullness of our district. Effective school boards are composed of moderate people, who may have their own point of view, but can listen, gather information, consider dissident voices, and come to well-reasoned conclusions that unite our community versus divide it, as they set education policy. Yet in the last several elections, partisan politics has sought to find its way into the conversation by endorsing school board candidates according to their ideology and their faithfulness to partisan principles. I believe this is a bad precedent for the district and our kids, as party politics brings to the table a “we-they” perspective that does not help members to truly consider and represent the full needs of our children.

As school board members ask for your vote this election, ask them why they are running. Are they trying to bring forward a specific partisan view, or are they running in order to better understand educational issues in our district and serve the full community? Are they running to tear something down, or to build something up? Are they running so they can improve education for all children in our district, or just to represent a specific few? Will they help unite or divide our schools and communities? Please select those who can bring a positive voice to our school board, and will help to keep the momentum of constructive dialog that we have enjoyed in our district for decades – and above all, who will keep our board free from partisan bickering.

Michelle Witte - Woodbury