Ask any Missouri voter what’s important to them and they’ll usually say two things: Healthcare and education. These same voters also say school board elections matter. But ask any county clerk in Missouri, and they’ll tell you that voters don’t turn out for local municipal elections.

They notoriously have the lowest voter turnout each election cycle. For example, Franklin County Clerk Tim Baker reported a 7.38% turnout in the June 2020 municipal election. But then, the figure slid even more the following year when only 6.88% exercised their right to vote in the April 2021 election. That’s pitiful. Even worse, it can have a huge impact on us right where we live–in our towns, our county, and in our local public schools.

Why School Board Candidates Run

Most individuals who decide to run as a school board member truly support our public schools. They love kids and often have school-aged children and attend band concerts and basketball games. They buy items they probably don’t really need such as lightbulbs or coupon books just to help out student clubs who are trying to raise funds.

But there are some school board candidates who come to the table with a political agenda–one that’s not conducive to student learning, and one that’s certainly not supportive of teachers or school administrators. If elected, those school board members can have a huge impact on hundreds or thousands of students over multiple years.

Know Who’s Running

There are several individuals in Franklin County who have already filed to run for open school board member seats. The County Clerk’s office maintains a current roster of all candidates.

You can tell a whole lot about a candidate by who has endorsed them. According to the Missouri Equity Education Partnership Twitter feed two right-wing groups, Moms for Liberty and No Left Turn, have endorsed school board candidates across the state including some in local districts:

School Board Elections Matter.

Groups such as these are laser-focused on politicizing our public schools, and not just in Missouri. This is part of a national effort to essentially complete a hostile takeover. We can’t let that happen. Do your research in advance. Reach out to candidates if you don’t know them. Find out if they are truly supportive of our public schools, or if they are simply interested in advancing a far-right extremist agenda. And make it a priority to cast your vote on April 5.

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The Franklin County Democratic Central Committee meets the last Monday of each month. Due to COVID, meetings are currently being held via Zoom. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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