Letter: Tell lawmakers to keep politics out of school board races

From: Caleb Tennis


The 2022 Indiana legislative session includes a number of bills tackling changes to school boards elections. One alarming prevalent topic across house bills 1240, 1042, 1145, and 1182 is the requiring of political party affiliation for all those running for school board, whereas now no party affiliation is required to be declared.

This change adds politicization to an area where we’re already better off without it. Proponents argue that putting an R, D, or I next to candidates’ names more informs the voting public of their political leanings. Surely that information can be assessed via their candidate statements, websites, donors, and other items they use while running for office.

Local education should not be governed by politically driven boards. Introducing political party affiliation will cause school boards to feel conflicted about where their allegiances truly lie — to the public, or to the party?

Moreover, requiring this change further limits who can even run in the first place. The Hatch Act prohibits federal government employees, as well as state and local level ones whose jobs are funded by federal dollars, from seeking office in partisan elections, reducing the number of people who can participate. In addition, qualified candidates, including incumbents, who do not identify with a political party or do not wish to engage in politics, may choose not to run.

Do you want political parties working to prioritize efforts behind obtaining majority control, instead of having the most qualified candidates running? Do you want party allegiance factoring into personnel decisions, such as the hiring of teachers and administrators?

Contact your state representatives and tell them to keep politics out of school board elections.