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Pay Attention To The School Board Races
Published:
10/26/2016 11:44:38 PM


 
By Barney Blakeney


As the count down to the November 8 general election winds to within two weeks, all attention continues to focus on the presidential election. But in Charleston County among the many races that will be decided will be the contests for seats on various school boards. In Charleston County where the peculiar structure of school governance includes the countywide consolidated school board and eight constituent school boards, those races may prove pivotal in a district where financial and academic concerns weigh heavily.

Five seats on the county’s consolidated school board are up for grabs Nov. 8 – one on the Charleston peninsula, two in the North Area and two West Ashley. Two candidates are vying for the single seat being elected on the Charleston peninsula, four candidates are vying for two seats being elected in the North Area and three candidates are vying for the two seats being elected West Ashley. The county’s consolidated school board consists of nine members.

With five of those seats being elected Nov. 8, the direction of the fiscally conservative board could change. And, of the board’s nine members, only three are African American in the district where about half the students are black. Potentially three blacks could be elected to the new board increasing the number of blacks on the board to four.

Quality Education Project, a newly formed two-year-old schools advocacy organization has suggested voters consider several key things when deciding to vote for a candidate for the consolidated board. Among those, all registered voters can cast ballots for candidates in any of the three regional areas of the county. Also, the consolidated school board decides on school closures and that the consolidated school board decides academic programming and funding.

QEP also emphasizes that 24 candidates are vying for seats on constituent school boards. Only the voters in each respective constituent district can cast ballots for the candidates in the respective constituent school district.

The school board races are located at the bottom of the ballot and selections must be made separately. Since all school board races are nonpartisan, choosing to vote a ‘straight ticket’ ballot will not cast votes in school board races. QEP advises voters to study sample ballots that are currently available before going to the polls, write down choices and take that with you when you go to the polls. Sample ballots will be on display on Election Day at your precinct.
 

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