The Polk County Board of Commissioners and Polk County Board of Education will work together in coming months on a non-partisan approach to providing more information about candidates for local school board elections.
The two boards have historically worked together to place first the needs of local students and schools, one reason that Polk County Schools is consistently ranked as one of the top public school districts in North Carolina.
The boards will expand that relationship by developing candidate public forums for the 2022 election, in which four seats on the Board of Education will be on the ballot. The public forums will provide county voters with an opportunity to learn more about each candidate and their views on public education.
The boards will identify and work with a local non-partisan group to oversee the candidate forums. Former Polk County Schools Superintendent William J. Miller is expected to help lead that effort.
Given the planned approach, the Board of Commissioners voted Monday at its regular monthly meeting to remove an agenda item relating to adding a referendum to the November 2022 election that would have allowed voters to weigh in on changing school board elections to be partisan.
In addition to the candidate forums providing voters an opportunity to learn more about each candidate’s views, commissioners noted that a move to partisan elections would make it extremely difficult for registered independent voters to run for a seat on the school board.