Wyoming’s gubernatorial and congressional races are in full swing, and starting Wednesday things are heating up for those interested in a seat on their local school board. Candidates have until August 27 to declare their intention to run in November.
Wyoming School Board Association Director Brian Farmer said ensuring the public has a voice in public education dates back to Thomas Jefferson. School boards hold district administrators accountable, and they shape district policies and curriculum in response to public interest.
“I think it’s a neat and exciting time,” said Farmer. “We get tied up in races at the federal, statewide or county level, but a place where we can really make a significant difference, at that local level, is in a school board election.”
Farmer said serving as a school board member is ordinarily a demanding role, and it can be even more challenging when school districts are facing state budget reductions.
“When you consider the current environment there are certainly challenges,” said Farmer. “How are we going to provide a high quality of education to the kids in our community when our resources are less?”
Farmer said adhering to legal obligations to act in the best interest of the school district can be tough in small communities where budget cuts mean school board members are eliminating positions that might be filled by friends and neighbors.
Another potentially contentious issue before school boards is school safety and whether to allow staff to carry guns.
Farmer said hard decisions also come with the reward of thinking in students' best interest and getting to see them graduate each year.
The Wyoming School Board Association has more information about why and how to run.