Last Tuesday, the polls were open in Phenix City for registered voters to decide if they wanted to move from a city council-appointed Phenix City Board of Education to an elected board.
There are approximately 18,000 registered voters in the city limits. That’s not the number of people over the age of 18 who are in the city who are eligible to vote. There are plenty more than that who are simply not registered.
How many people cast ballots and made the decision for thousands of school children and parents? Fewer than 1,000. Approximately half of a percent of registered voters in Phenix City made the decision to make the switch.
All county school systems in the state are required to have an elected school board. Twenty-two of the state’s 71 city school boards are elected. The decision will cost Phenix City Schools $500 per month per board member. That’s $42,000 each year plus expenses associated with board member duties. But it does give the community the opportunity to vote on who will represent his or her district on the board. With fewer than 1,000 people voting in this election, is that even a good thing?
The state has midterm elections coming up in November. These are the state representatives and senators that will voice your concerns in the legislature and in Congress. We voted on candidates in the primary election earlier in the year. There were more than 1,000 voters who cast ballots then, which gives hope that the November election will see more than those who came out for the school board referendum.
Some would think that these local elections, though, are more powerful because everyone has an opinion on what the city and county is doing and how their children are treated at school. It’s obvious because it’s all over social media. But when does the talk become action? Perhaps when there are candidates to choose from will people care enough to act on who sits on the board.
With that said, please vote in the midterm election. Don’t use the excuse that you don’t know who to vote for. We’ll take care of informing you of all the local candidates.
By Denise DuBois, Executive Editor