November 25, 2022

Should Indiana school board candidates run under a political party?

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – When you voted in the Indiana primary, you probably voted for someone who nominated their party. Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, but for Indiana school board races, they are all listed as nonpartisan.

Some Indiana lawmakers, including state Rep. Bob Morris, R-District 84, say that because people who sit on school boards vote themselves in elections, they think their seats should be tied to a political party.

“They can remove a Republican ballot this primary, the next primary they can remove a Democrat. They can go back and forth, but what are we trying to hide in these school boards to the point of saying that they are non-partisan.

Kristi Schlatter is running for re-election for the Northwest Allen County Schools Board. She served six years and says school board members should be non-partisan.

“I think the motivation for being a nonpartisan member of a school board is to be able to do my best to meet the needs of all of our children,” Schlatter said. “It’s not about hiding, but it’s about providing the best opportunities possible, regardless of where the child comes from or the family, their political affiliation. “

In the other NACS district race, Darren Vogt ran on a conservative platform, which he did as an Allen County board member for 12 years.

Vogt says he has no problem with naming a party, explaining, “I don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing or a bad thing. It’s just important for some people to understand where you’re thinking, in terms of philosophy. So if you’re not ready to say that, it could be a problem not understanding your views when it comes to making decisions.

With topics like mask mandates being a contentious topic within the district recently, Vogt says he thinks a school board member can work in the best interests of all students and listen to everyone while standing up for your personal beliefs.

“You shouldn’t hide what you’re thinking, but what you should be able to do is back up your thought processes with ideas and thoughts, and the ‘R’ or the ‘D’ doesn’t matter. doesn’t really matter if you can back up your argument,” says Vogt.

Schlatter says she supports the “No Politics” principle found in the Indiana School Boards Association Code of Ethics. She says she doesn’t see how partisanship will help the district in the future, saying, “I think we’re in a time where unity is so important and so necessary, and I don’t see partisanship lend to this towards our students. in our community. “

Morris says that once the legislative session begins in January, he plans to reintroduce legislation that would require school board candidates to nominate a party.