STATEHOUSE — In Indiana, if you run for school board you do so on your own. You do not get any help from political parties and you do not have a party designation at the end of your name.
However, state lawmakers are considering a bill to change that.
State Sen Jack Sandlin has authored a bill, similar to one brought up in the Indiana House last year, that would allow school board members to run as Republicans or Democrats. If they still choose not to affiliate with a political party they would run as an Independent.
“I find that there is a large interest in people designating their party in school board elections,” Sandlin said to the Senate Elections committee on Monday.
Opponents of the bill say that it invites politics into school-related topics where it would not be welcome. State Sen Andrea Hunley (D-Indianapolis) expressed concern that it would change the perspective of voters simply because of partisan politics.
“People who are sitting on our school boards right now, folks who have incredibly valuable input, who care deeply about children and have experience in looking into contracts, for example, wouldn’t get elected because of that letter behind their name,” she said.
Supporters say that the bill would not change a whole lot since school boards and the issues that impact them are already political and that adding party designation would add more transparency for voters on who they would be considering in elections.
The bill was not voted on in the committee’s hearing on Monday. Instead, they decided to table it so more refinements could be made.
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