Why Arizona voters should pay attention to school board candidates

Sep 29, 2022, 4:45 AM

(Facebook Photo/Arizona School Boards Association)...

(Facebook Photo/Arizona School Boards Association)

(Facebook Photo/Arizona School Boards Association)

PHOENIX — Even though candidates running for local school boards in Arizona will be at the bottom of the ballot this November, voters are encouraged to still pay close attention.

James Bryce, president-elect of the Arizona School Boards Association, told KTAR News 92.3 FM these candidates will play a huge role in the education of K-12 students once elected.

“Primarily, as a school board member, your main duty is setting policy and fiscal oversight,” Bryce said.

School board members oversee their district’s finances, which include funds that the Arizona State Legislature allocates to public schools and money that comes from local bonds and override elections.

They’re also responsible for setting all policies and procedures for the school district.

“It’s not micromanaging. It’s not telling the superintendent how to run the schools,” Bryce explained. “It’s setting goals and visions of how you want students to succeed.”

Most school boards across the state have at least one seat up for election in November.

Bryce noted school board members don’t get paid for their service and oftentimes are members of the community they serve. Some have a background in education while others are parents with kids attending schools in the district.

“By having a good representation of your community on the board, you can set policies that are going to align with student achievement,” Bryce said.

Parents began paying more attention to their local school boards at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Board members sat through hours-long meetings hearing from parents who were concerned about school closures, online learning and masking requirements.

Bryce said he feels the pandemic heightened public awareness of school boards.

“In a way, that’s a good thing,” he said. “The more transparent you are, the more you can do good work.”

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Why Arizona voters should pay attention to school board candidates