Why should YOU care about school committee elections?
Whether or not you have children in the Quincy Public School system, the school committee can still affect you as well as the rest of Quincy.
QFTC Organizer | October 4, 2021
November 2nd is Election Day! This year, there are three school committee positions, three ward councillors’ positions, and all three councillors-at-large positions being contested. Now, the influence that city council members have over our local government is obvious, and the influence that school committee members have on Quincy schools is also obvious. However, the influence that school committee members have on local government and their effect on ALL of Quincy’s residents is not so obvious. Here’s why YOU should learn about the school committee candidates and vote in an informed manner:
First of all, getting elected to school committee is often an entry point to running for higher office later on. 5 out of 9 of our current city council members (Mahoney, DiBona, Andronico, McCarthy, and Palmucci) have previously served on the Quincy school committee. Casting your vote to elect a candidate to the school committee can potentially contribute to a future where that person ends up in the city council or in other positions in local government.
Even if that person does not go on to run for higher office, there is plenty that they can do within the school committee itself. The policies that they develop and implement determine how schools are run, including what curriculum is being taught, what programs are funded, how teachers and staff are hired and compensated, all the way to how athletic injuries are managed and what food is served for school lunches. The quality of our schools determines the quality of our investment in future generations.
These policies have immediate and significant daily impacts on the children who attend these schools, as they become fellow participants in our democratic society. Diversity in the school board – even a single non-white member – has been shown to correlate with positive effects on student achievement, reduced suspension rates for all students, reduced disparities in suspension rates between minority and white students, and increased financial investment plus reduced teacher turnover in high-minority schools. (source).
The consequences of school committee decisions also extend beyond the students, parents, teachers, and staff within the schools themselves. This was most clearly highlighted during COVID, as school reopening strategies and mask mandates became critical public health concerns. Schools also affect property values and taxes for all residents of Quincy. 73% of homebuyers take school districts into consideration when looking for a new home, and are willing to pay top dollar for top-ranked school districts (source). This results in major increases in property values across the entire district. In addition, the money for the education budget comes from the city budget, which is funded by local taxes.
Participation is the key to a functioning democracy. School committee elections are generally not considered noteworthy by most of the voting-age population, and thus turnout is often poor. That means that YOUR vote counts for more, and will have a much greater influence on the outcome of this year’s election. If you want a school committee that will implement progressive policies and make decisions for the public good, then watch our school committee candidate forum video (link), read our upcoming articles on the school committee and city council candidates, and VOTE.