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Resident Encourages School Board to Become Nonpartisan

Richard Segal addressed the Douglas County School Board during its first meeting of 2013, in order to encourage the board to become nonpartisan.

Richard Segal addressed the Douglas County School Board during its first meeting of 2013, in order to encourage the board to become nonpartisan.

Segal, who created and operates the Facebook page Douglas Co GA for a Non-Partisan School Board, asked the school board to consider requesting local legislation that would change the manner of election of board members from partisan to nonpartisan.

He said a partisan board does not benefit the 24,500 students in the school system; nor its 3,550 employees; nor those elected to the board.

"Having a partisan school board only benefits the political parties," Segal said. "It is widely recognized that political partisanship has no place in education."

He noted that the Georgia School Board Association's fiscal year 2013 legislative priorities supports legislation calling for the non-partisan election of local school board members and those priorities have been endorsed by the Douglas County
Board of Education.

"Most states require that school boards be elected in nonpartisan elections," he said. "In Georgia, school systems started with partisan boards, but were given
the option to change to nonpartisan elections."

Segal noted that 104 of the 180 public school systems in Georgia have board members elected in nonpartisan elections or 58 percent of them.

According to state law, specifically OCGA section 20-2-56, "the General Assembly may provide by local law for the election in nonpartisan elections of candidates to fill the offices of members of boards of education."

"While you already met with the local delegation last Friday, there is still time to request that a local law be introduced during the session that starts a week from today," he said.

"While the Georgia School Board Association is pushing for a statewide nonpartisan school board election requirement, which they do every year with no progress, and which, as I said before, was endorsed by this board, there is still one very important reason why this board should request a local law instead of waiting for a statewide requirement: local control.

"You say you want it. Here you have it. Use it."

It is not yet known if members of the board intend to address this issue. The school board's policy is to not respond to public comments during the meeting.

Should the election of school board members be nonpartisan? Let us know in the comments below this article.

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