Year after year school board elections are canceled because no local citizens choose to run against incumbents.
Some may argue that few run because overall the public is satisfied with the status quo but, that ignores the consistent complaints rendered often under the umbrella of “local control”.
The constant disinterest in running for school boards across the state, demonstrates not that everyone is satisfied with the biggest spenders of property tax money but, that they truly are not significantly concerned about local influence and control on public schools.
I think that by and large, citizens, other than those with children in school, are largely unconcerned about local control and the day to day public school environment. When did taxpayers get a big property tax cut from local control? They didn’t, such came from the Legislature. Other than sports, most media and concerned citizen groups’ attention is to curriculum decisions at the State Board of Ed., not the local. And, even within the school business, most of the political fight for funds and salary increases has migrated to Austin.
The mantra of local-control, as with unfunded-mandate, may have derived from legitimate issues but now, is a hackneyed phrase used to deflect responsibility and criticism. We’re moving ever closer to an almost completely state-run public school system. He who pays the piper calls the tune, and local district boards, ever demanding more of the funding share through Austin’s coffers, are to blame.
Robert Pratt is host of the top rated Pratt on Texas radio program which can be heard at www.PrattonTexas.com