This article was published at Clarkcountytoday.com and is presented here in its entirety. You can read the original by clicking the link.
Battle Ground resident Dick Rylander encourages interested and engaged community members to consider filing to run for school board positions
Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com
One of the critical issues citizens have had to deal with throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, has been their children’s education. Schools were shut down a year ago, and many are only now, beginning to reopen, a year later.
At the heart of the debate between concerned parents and teachers, are school boards. These elected citizens are making the decisions about how individual school districts conducted their remote learning. They have made decisions regarding negotiating with the teacher’s union, and how and when to reopen schools for in-classroom instruction.
As we enter the third month of 2021, there is an opportunity to have a major impact on the future of Clark County and America. School Boards make decisions that influence the minds of children for generations to come. Choosing the curriculum, textbooks, sports programs, hiring superintendents, approving budgets — the list is long. School boards are unpaid elected positions that generally require 10-15 hours of commitment per week. They are also one of the most overlooked critical jobs. One can argue they are more important than almost any local elected position you could hold.
For those of you focusing on school board races we’ve been able to put together a list of the director positions in Southwest Washington up for election in 2021. How do you determine if you live in one of the school board director positions up for election?
1) Use the GIS instructions to find out which director district you live in.
2) Why is this important? Because you can only run for a position if you live in that specific director district even though voting is “at large” for the entire school district.
3) Look at the table below to see if the director position you are living in is up for election
4) File to run with the Clark County Elections Department the 2nd week of May.
GIS Instructions: For those trying to find out what school director district they live in, in any school district in Clark County, you can try the following steps to help you make the determination:
• GIS method for finding your school district
• Clark County (https://gis.clark.wa.gov/gishome/property/index.cfm?) Enter property address
• Click Maps Online and select your parcel
• Upper right corner select Find Layer
• On the search bar under Find Layer start to type the word School
• You will see several choices. Select “School district board director area”
This will redraw your map. On the screen, in the middle of your map parcel, in light blue, will be your SD and a number (which is the school district) and Dir: and a number. That will be the school director district you live in and can run for when it’s up for election.
Here is the table for the 10 school districts with board seats up for election in 2021:
Parents are paying greater attention to those making decisions about their children’s education than ever before. Don’t be afraid to get involved. Concerned parents should work together to find candidates that represent their values and concerns.
These candidates will need support – knocking on doors, buying and displaying campaign signs, putting together mailers. Now is the time to find candidates for all the positions listed above, to ensure your children’s school board is more representative of you and your neighbors.
For those willing to step forward, you are most welcome to reach out to me for additional information about your schools, how to make a positive impact on your children’s education and how to file and put together a campaign.
Note: You do NOT need to have children in school to run.