Washington County, Tenn. BOE opposes partisan school board elections

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JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) — Partisan school board elections could create divisiveness and lead to less focus on students’ needs, according to a resolution approved Thursday by the Washington County Board of Education.

In a unanimous vote with one member (Mike Masters) absent, the school board approved a resolution urging the General Assembly to oppose any legislation that would allow for partisan school board elections.

However, state lawmakers have already approved such legislation. Last week, the Tennessee Senate and House passed HB 9072, which would allow county political parties to nominate candidates for school board elections. Before it was amended, the original bill required all school board elections to be partisan.

The bill is currently on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature.

The BOE’s resolution states that “nonpartisan school board elections allow candidates to focus their undivided attention and interests on education and represent the needs and aspirations of their communities.” Partisan elections, however, would have “the potential to create division among the board and shift the focus away from the needs of the students.”

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