February 9, 2016

District’s choice to send candidate questionnaires questionable

The Gardner Edgerton School District officials are hoping to select their bosses, as least that’s the appearance they are giving by sending a loaded questionnaire to candidates to for the school board.
Questionnaires are common and candidates are probably receiving dozens of questionnaires from think tanks, political action committees, and the governmental affairs arms of many organizations like the Chamber of Commerce. (They’ll be receiving another from this newspaper soon as well.)
Questionnaires are a valuable way for voters to assess the values of political candidates. However, no matter how careful the writer of a questionnaire may be, bias will be perceived by readers.
Such is the case with the school board questionnaires, which appear to place a higher value on leadership within the school district than on leadership in general.
We disagree with the premise that serving on a school committee, which are appointed by school personnel, is somehow indicative of good leadership qualities.
We would argue USD 231, with its perpetual public relations issues, could use fresh eyes on its board of education. That means eyes that aren’t a part of internal school district conversations.
We also question the use of taxpayer funds to “educate” voters. Yes, it’s legal to send informational and educational pieces, but morally and ethically, we question the decision to send questions rather than simply requesting a short bio.
Largely, we urge voters and district patrons to view the Horizon newsletter questionnaires and answers with a healthy dose of salt. It appears the foxes, or administration, hopes to guard its henhouse.

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