I was talking to friend of mine at yesterday’s parish festival, and a comment he made stopped me short. We were discussing this Tuesday’s Manassas City elections, and he said that the City Council elections were what was really important. The School Board elections didn’t really matter. He didn’t have any children in the schools, so why did it matter to him? He was surprised at my reaction, because I couldn’t disagree more. Here are just a few reasons why:
- Quality of life Over 7000 young citizens of Manassas attend our public schools. These are our future neighbors, business owners, employees, community volunteers and leaders, and voters. All of us are going to be impacted by the education given these people, an education that is the direct responsibility of the City School Board.
- City economy The School System is a primary economic engine, and its weakness is hurting both businesses and real estate. That our School System is struggling is well known and established, and the only way to begin to change this is to change the School Board via the ballot box.
- City Council Our Mayor and the City Council would be the first to point out that high quality schools are crucial to the City’s success. Without School Board members that can lead and inspire with a passion for learning, the City Council is actually hindered in their responsibilities and plans for the City. Councilmembers have told me this personally.
- Taxes While the School Board has no direct taxing authority, they receive 56% of our City tax dollars. That is to say the School Board decides how to spend the greatest part of our tax money, which brings me to my final point…
- Accountability The School Board is beholden to no one, except the voters. The City Council, the school administration, teachers, and students rely on the wisdom and good will of the citizens of Manassas to put the right people in the job. That is a responsibility that really matters.