May 15, 2007
If you want a seat on the Charlottesville School Board, all it takes right now is some paperwork and 125 signatures.
As of Tuesday morning, only two people have announced their desire to fill the four vacant seats on the board that is responsible for the direction of the city's education system.
"The board helps to prepare students for challenges in the future," explained Chair Alvin Edwards.
Edwards announced his wish to be re-elected Tuesday. He says he wants to continue what he started, which is a strategic plan aimed at closing the achievement gap.
"It is having a very positive effect. Our scores are up."
Also announcing his candidacy is Grant Brownrigg, a business cartoonist who thinks getting the business community involved with the schools is good for everyone.
"They (businesses) can volunteer, give advice, give money, give awards to teachers," said Brownrigg. "And businesses need well-educated and hardworking employees."
That makes two seats down. Now two more to go.
Edwards speculates that the lack of interest in running for the school board may have to do with the new electoral system. This is only the second election for the board, in which members are not affiliated with a party.
"I believe people aren't stepping up because you got to raise money and do a lot of paperwork," suggested Edwards. "When I ran for City Council, the party took care of all of that, but you can't be aligned with a party when you run for school board."
Even though the lack of candidates means these two have automatic seats, Brownrigg sees competition as a good thing.
"If no one else runs I got my slogan, 'Better Than Nothing,'" the cartoonist joked. "But obviously the more good people that get involved the better."
The deadline to enter is June 12th. Paperwork can be picked up at the registrar's office.
If there are not enough candidates by the deadline, the board will appoint someone to temporarily fill the spots until a special election can be held.