Half of Florida’s counties will be electing its School Board members in less than eight weeks. Are you ready?

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PineApple Report staff | June 23, 2020

As part of the Pineapple Report’s commitment to covering and informing on education news, and given the size of Florida’s traditional public schools, significant resources are allocated to the reporting of the elections of policy makers. School board members are chosen to be the voice of the electorate and represent the general and specific interests of the their constituencies. In short, electing school board members is a very significant decision.

On August 18th, a mere 8 Tuesdays from today, thirty-three Florida counties will be voting and deciding on who will be their new school board members. Those of you who have a business interest in education, who are parents of children attending public schools, association and labor unions leaders, caretakers of society or plain education super heroes need to pay close attention.

In a typical election, in a non-pandemic year, you would have several opportunities and ways to hear from candidates to then be able to formulate an intelligent decision before a vote. Traditional communication methods such as Rotary Clubs and Chamber of Commerce debates would allow people to learn about a candidate’s campaign platform. Voters would get a knock on the door and engage in meaningful conversations and challenge candidates’ perspectives on education issues and their specific views. However, under this new COVID-19 era world that we are living in, everything is different.

Like never before, and hopefully like never again, these elections will be heavily influenced by mailers, robocalls, social media and virtual zoom-like forums sharing a candidates’ credentials and qualifications. Unlike ever before, you should prepare for your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and even TikTok accounts to be inundated with large amounts of candidate-prepared content, i.e., traditional campaign literature.

Given the state of politics in the U.S., these elections are more meaningful than ever and will have a greater impact on how a school board will be operated. In some cases, such as in the School District of Osceola County, you will have the possible election of a majority Hispanic board. In several other school districts a board’s balance of power may shift from a 2-to-3 vote to a 3-to- 2 vote with a single new member. And yet in some other school districts board member elections are about maintaining the status quo, which could be just fine. Whatever your case may be and however you may be involved in the K-12 education, the reality is that you have less than 8 weeks to write a check, read up on candidate’s credentials and campaign promises, attend a virtual candidate forum, and prepare your mailbox for the spawning of a lot of election materials. And yes, also be ready for the social media landslide of information throughout any and all of your social media accounts.

Understand the significance of this election as hopefully we won’t ever again be electing school board members in the midst of a global pandemic. Therefore, in spite of all the fears and concerns about the rising numbers of people being infected and society being affected, we must pay close attention to the Primary elections. Lets not lose track of time and be ready to make the best possible “educated” decision when electing school board members, particularly if you live in one of the thirty three-counties where these races are taking place.  

August 18th is around the corner; are you in a county that will be electing its school board members in a few weeks and not in the November election?