By Wayne William Cipriano
You won’t be the first to question the prowess of my mathematics so you might want to work the numbers for yourself, but it seems to me that when six people were running for two seats on the Ava R-1 School Board, a total of 572.5 voters cast a ballot.
I have heard a lot of comments from a lot of people about the failure of our schools and made some of those comments myself: too little education; too much money; too little communication; too much authority; too little accountability; murky goals and few ways to assess if those goals or any other goals are being achieved. Feel free to pencil in areas I have ignored.
So, when SIX people, six people who have family and friends, belong to civic groups and religious organizations, work with and meet many people on a daily basis, and publicize their desire to be elected to the School Board, when these six candidates combine to entice an average of 95 people per candidate to go to the polls and participate in that election, don’t you wonder where are all those dissatisfied citizens and the candidates they would support to make the changes they feel are desirable and / or necessary?
And, of course you know you do not have to be dissatisfied with our schools to vote in a school board election. A very large turnout could just as easily be seen as an indication of support –– a gigantic “Atta Wayta Go” to the candidates and perhaps even to the sitting school board as a reminder that the citizens are watching and then voting.
Maybe if the candidates for the school board had a list of concrete changes they envisioned, specific modifications that would benefit the educational attainment of our students, absolute and verifiable requirements those candidates intended to place upon administrators, faculty, and staff, new programs to develop within the school board and then present to citizens who ultimately derive the benefits of those programs and who immediately pay for them, maybe then there would be more interest in putting a candidate or two, or more, on the school board. At least by more than 572.5 voters.
Serving on the school board can be a life-consuming, arduous, contentious, occasionally expensive, often thankless way to demonstrate one’s desire to serve the community, and those who do so are to be generally commended. When you consider that educating our young is the most important thing we do after keeping them alive, you wonder why there isn’t more energy, more citizen attention directed toward an elective office as import as our school board.
After all, voting is the third most important civil function we can perform. Do you vote?