Three Reasons Why You Should Care about the School Board Race

Oct 21, 2013

Why should you care about the Seattle School Board race? Consider these three reasons:

1. Unstable Board = Bad for Students

Research has shown that a chaotic board "will repel all people of quality," thereby negatively impacting student achievement, according to Thomas Alsbury, professor of educational administration and supervision at Seattle Pacific University. 

“When boards and central office leaders are viewed as unstable or chaotic, excellent principals and teachers choose to go elsewhere,” Alsbury said.

2. One Member Can Have Big Influence

The Seattle School Board consists of seven members who control a $640 million annual budget. Three of those seats are up for grabs this election, though one is an uncontested race. 

But Asbury says it only takes one member to create negative impact on the board’s inner-workings, or even change the direction of the board. 

“One seat on one board—it can have influence,” Alsbury said. “If we have a board who have members on one side of the issue and half the members are on the other side, a single school board member can swing [the vote]."

3. A Democratic Pillar

There's one more broader factor to consider, said Alsbury.

“Elected school boards represent one of the few local crucibles of democracy that still exist," he said.