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Vote No on school board ‘expansion’ proposal

By Staff | Oct 29, 2014

Lee County voters are being asked whether substantive changes should be made to the makeup of the School Board of Lee County.

Specifically, voters are asked to decide whether the five-person board should be expanded to seven and whether five of those seven seats should be determined by only the voters living within each respective district. The remaining two would be determined by voters countywide.

Currently, school board members must live in the district they represent but voters countywide cast a ballot in all five races.

Proponents say it will be easier, and cost less, to run for office within a particular district. They also say these “single-member” districts would provide for better representation within the district while the two countywide seats would provide balance.

To these arguments, we say pashaw: “Easier” and “cheaper” for politicians does not equate to “better” for taxpayers.

Especially when those taxpayers, who now can now cast a ballot in every race, will be stripped of the ability to elect a board they believe to be best able to represent the county as a whole.

In addition, the proposal would pull money from where it is most sorely needed – the classroom – to fund two extra political seats, including board salaries, offices and support staff.

We see no benefit here, not to the students the district is intended to serve, not to the educational process and certainly not to the voters who, again, are being asked to limit their ability to vote for whom they choose.

Vote NO on the proposition to expand the Lee County School board and implement single-member districts.

Ballot language

Proposition to increase School Board Members from Five to Seven with Five Single Member Districts

Shall the number of school board members for Lee County, Florida increase from five to seven with five present offices elected from single-member districts by voters residing in those districts only, the new school Board Members elected countywide by all voters of the county? A “yes” vote is for seven school board members with five offices elected in single member districts. A “no” vote is for five school board members offices, all elected countywide.

Recommendation: Vote NO on Proposition to increase School Board Members from Five to Seven with Five Single-Member districts.

– Reporter editorial