Moving trustee elections will negatively affect student performance

Moving trustee elections from May zone elections to district wide November elections will have an impact that should concern any representative representing all of Coeur d’ Alene. I disagree with this approach, which I’ve discussed with Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene.

  • Christa Hazel
    Christa Hazel

    It makes it that much harder to find a volunteer willing to fund and execute a November election campaign for a four-year volunteer spot that pays exactly zero. Encouraging a cross section of candidates is challenging. Often our school board sees first-time elected officials. Facing a November general might make the difference in losing a stellar candidate from consideration due to the daunting process.

  • By moving to the November general, one-party dominance on the school board is virtually assured based on the PAC money raised to assist November campaigning (which is fine until it’s not your party doing the dominating).
  • Board spots are nonpartisan but a November general means party-endorsed candidates supported by Political Action Committees and organized groups providing volunteers will be working very hard to get their candidate elected. 

I am proud to say my trustee seat saw record voter turnout for a zone seat in a May school board election. Tom Hearn and Dave Eubanks also saw record turnout. I’m not running, so this bill doesn’t affect me directly. Indirectly, studies show politicized school boards have high turnover and negatively affect student performance.

As a mom, I’m worried about school boards that get too partisan one way or the other. It really should be a reflection of the community — not a reflection of political faction prowess.

So I have to wonder: Are we improving an existing problem that needs fixing or are we trying to manage future outcomes?

Written by Christa Hazel, a Coeur d’ Alene School District trustee.