Who Should You Vote for in the School Board Election?

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Friday, November 4, 2016, 12:31 am
Alice Dreger, Publisher

I’ll answer that headline's question in a minute.

First I want to remind you of what President Obama said at the Democratic convention this year, not because I think you’re a Democrat or that you like Obama, but because what he said should really apply to all of us: if you care about American democracy, vote down-ticket—for school board and sheriff and water commissioner—and then hold those elected responsible.

But how does a community hold its elected officials responsible?

How do people in East Lansing know what those elected locally are up to? How do you know when our City Council isn’t following the ethics procedures they themselves voted in as policy? How do you know what our school board is considering doing about elementary school overcrowding? How do you know what’s going into the shaping of big tax deals and bond proposals?

Maybe ELi isn’t the only way you find out about this stuff, but I’m betting we are the most reliable source of local news you have.

We are the only news organization that consistently covers East Lansing Public Schools, including Board of Trustee meetings, and East Lansing City Council. We are the only source you can turn to when you have a question you figure your neighbors also want answered.

We are here for you like nobody else. If we go, you go back into the dark, informed only by people you happen to know and people who have figured out how to bother you on social media with their agendas.

So who should you vote for in the school board election?

Heck, I don’t know. I don’t know what your values are in terms of pedagogy, economics, bicycle safety, teacher job security, or anything else. To state the obvious, you need to vote in a way that is consistent with what you hope and want and value.

You’re not me. I’m not you. That’s why at ELi, we aren’t so arrogant as to tell you who to vote for. We do try our level best to tell you what we think you might want to know as you make your decision. I personally think that ELi’s Karessa Wheeler and Ann Nichols have done a spectacular job helping to provide you with candidate profiles and answers from candidates to reader questions. They are making it possible for you (and me) to go to the polls with more to work from than just PR as featured in a bunch of glossy mailers.

I mean, check out our coverage!

So I will tell you who I think you should vote for when it comes to continued East Lansing Public Schools coverage like nobody else: ELi. We are how whomever gets elected to school board is going to be held accountable. We are going to be how you find out what they’re saying and what they’re doing.

Who will be doing that reporting? Mostly Karessa Wheeler with consistent editorial support from Managing Editor Ann Nichols. Karessa and Ann are two of the folks who get paid at ELi. (I volunteer my time.) They don’t get paid nearly as much as they should—like everyone else working at ELi, they do this work largely out of a sense of public service.

But I have to have funds in the bank at the end of the month to write them the checks.

Or else their reporting is going to stop, as is mine. (Because I'm not interested in working without the fantastic team we've built.)

So what’s it going to take to get some of you out there to help me out before we end the year, and maybe our public service, too?

(Don't forget: your donations are tax deductible.)


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