August election will determine important school board races

voting boothNumerous school board seats across the state are on the August 30th ballot. Many of these races will be won or lost that day while candidates that fail to secure at least 51% of the vote will face a runoff election on November 8th. In addition, many state House and Senate candidates face primary opponents on the August ballot.

School boards play an important role and their decisions impact  everything from reading to recess at your child’s school. School boards set the mission and vision of the school district and hire/fire the Superintendent. They serve as a check and balance for the Superintendent and district administrators- overseeing massive budgets and high dollar contracts. The decisions they make directly affect your student every day.

Florida House and Senate members legislate education policy every year. They determine school budgets, graduation requirements, teacher evaluation systems and more. The representatives sent to Tallahassee play a very important role in your child’s life and their decisions impact children’s futures.

Make sure that you get to know all of your candidates’ positions and philosophies. For school board races, Great Schools! suggests attending candidate forums and asking important questions.

For incumbents:

  • What actions have you taken to improve student achievement?

For challengers and incumbents:

  • What are your visions for this school district five to 10 years from now and what systemic changes will you work toward to achieve that vision?
  • What policies would you initiate to improve student achievement?
  • What are the characteristics of a superintendent you most admire?
  • How would you measure success for a superintendent?
  • What level of skills should high school students have upon graduation?

You’ll also want to find out if the candidate has good analytical, leadership and collaborative skills to move the district forward. A good candidate does not have a single-issue focus but rather is interested in the success of all students in the district.

Review candidate websites to see where they stand on issues most important to you. Bay News 9 and News 13 have provided links to candidate pages and social media accounts. All candidates on the ballots are listed by county and we’ve linked to a few from central Florida below.

Hernando    Hillsborough    Orange    Pasco    Pinellas    Volusia

Visit our Voter Dashboard to find helpful election information. While it is too late to register to vote in the August 30th election, you can find links to your polling place, early voting information, and more. (Don’t forget- you can still register to vote in the general election on November 8th but the deadline is October 11th!)