State Rep. Jon Hardister has filed a bill that, if passed into law, will make the Guilford County Board of Education elections the way they used to be – nonpartisan.
There’s a lot of local legislative support for the move: Rep. John Faircloth, a Republican, along with Reps. Amos Quick and Ashton Clemmons, both Democrats, joined Hardister as primary sponsors of the bill.
School board elections in Guilford County used to be nonpartisan but in 2013 the NC General Assembly passed legislation that changed those races to partisan. The new legislation would make everything old new again in this regard.
Hardister said he’d been hearing this suggestion from teachers, students and parents. He added that partisan politics is everywhere in society, but it isn’t needed in education. He said that, with partisanship removed from school board elections, board members can keep their focus where it belongs: on “improving education outcomes for children and preparing them for the future.”
Faircloth also said he’d heard many citizens arguing for the need for this change.
“This legislation is in response to feedback that we have received from constituents in Guilford County,” Faircloth said. “While partisan politics is a reality in our society, it shouldn’t be part of the conversation related to public education.”
Quick, a former Guilford County school board member, said he knows it’s better with the politics removed. Quick was elected to the school board in 2000 and served on the board for 16 years, so he’s seen the board under both systems.
“Having served on the Guilford County Board of Education when it was nonpartisan, I can attest to the fact that partisan politics have no place in the administration of our schools,” Quick said. “The goal of those who serve should always collectively be the best interest of students, staff and families, not toeing the party line.”