By Tommi Makila
By law, Maryland school boards are to be nonpartisan. With the reorganization of the Prince George’s County Public Schools governance structure in 2013, the Board of Education was stripped of much of its power. However, this takeover of the school system has not been enough for the political establishment. Our partisan elected officials are shamelessly meddling in the school board elections through their endorsements and slates, making these elections “nonpartisan” in name only.
Politicization of the school system and the school board is not in the best interest of our students. In a well-governed school system, decision makers feel more accountable to voters than to the political establishment and its agenda. But party endorsements of school board candidates undermine this principle, shifting the balance of power away from the voter and toward the party establishment.
To combat this corrosive influence, a group of concerned citizens is launching an effort: the “Alliance for Nonpartisan School Board Elections.” Our goal is to educate residents about the issue and mobilize advocacy efforts. We call for political parties to keep school board elections nonpartisan by refraining from endorsing Board of Education candidates or putting them on party slates and sample ballots. As the first steps for the Alliance, we have established this website and a Facebook group as a way of connecting interested individuals with each other. If this is an issue you care about, please bookmark this page and join the Facbook group! You can find our the Facebook group through this link or by searching for “Alliance for Nonpartisan School Board Elections” on Facebook.