Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Meet the Candidates

The annual event to meet the school district candidates was even sadder than usual, with a few current board members, a principal, the superintendent, candidates' wives, a teacher or two, and our own Martha Ferger the only people willing to come out in the rain and hear from the candidates. No media at all, and one of the candidates didn't show due to illness. Note to DCSD: It's time to insist that this event be part of the annual budget presentation. At least then you're assured of a few angry residents in the audience.

I think Martha was the only person in that room who has attended these events more often than Paul and I.

The questions were quite as you might expect, about finance, character education, choices when cutting programs, and so on. Chris, Karin, and Paul did just fine, with Chris and Karin emphasizing how well things are going (both are running for a fourth three-year term), and Paul explaining how things could be better. At one point when discussing communication, he even said that the DCSD website sucks, which it does. He also stressed the need for schools to reinvent themselves and gave some examples of how this might be done.

The dreary thing about school board elections is that they are nonpartisan to the point of anonymity. Can you, for example, name the school board members who might identify as Tea Party sympathizers? I can, but I fear that most people don't do that kind of research and just vote for the person whose name they know, or the person whose name doesn't look weird to them (Zahler and Lutwak probably fall into that weird category). This isn't limited to Dryden, of course. In NYS, only the cities have partisan elections for school board. I really don't want our school board candidates to run based on party politics, but it would be nice if people understood who they were and what they stood for before they walked blindly into the voting booth.

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