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All ripe seats seat on the city"s school board space up because that grabs this year. Here"s why school board elections room important.

You are watching: Atlanta public schools board of education


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Photograph by Atstock Productions / iStock / Getty images Plus

School plank meetings have a reputation for being duller than I-285 in rush-hour traffic. However they’re vitally important: the Atlanta board of education alone monitor a $1.4 billion budget and also 51,000 students. Recently, here in metro Atlanta and also nationwide, some board meetings have additionally emerged as volatile, political warm spots for angry crowds demanding or the contrary mask mandates or pushing back versus education about systemic racism.

Several seat on college boards throughout Georgia are up because that grabs in the November election, consisting of all ripe seats in the city that Atlanta. Here’s what you must know about school boards.

What go a school board do, anyway?There room 180 school boards in Georgia, one for each institution district. The boards rental superintendents, provide budgets, fire or suspend employees, and make policies that govern the school system.

They can additionally renew or expand charter schools—an problem that’s been controversial in Atlanta.

That sound bureaucratic and boring. Why must I care?It’s true that, historically, the basic public hasn’t taken much interest in college board activities, states Emory political science professor Zachary Peskowitz. However the pandemic has parents paying closer attention. School boards have had to make an overwhelming decisions, such as as soon as to reopen schools to in-person learning and whether or no to perform mask or vaccine mandates. Plus “critical gyeongju theory” is all of sudden a hot-button issue—and not just to parents of public college kids.

Recent commotion aside, institution boards have the right to have affect over what textbooks room used and what courses space taught in schools, and also the wages and also benefits teachers get, Peskowitz says. All the plays a function in a child’s classroom experience and success.

What’s keep going in the Atlanta Public institutions elections?There room 22 candidates for 9 seats. Every one of the spots space contested, other than for school Board district 3 where incumbent Michelle Olympiadis is to run unopposed.

Some the the main worries include closeup of the door the accomplishment gap in between white students and students of color, building a better relationship with the city, and measures to improve struggling schools.

Who has much more power: college boards or superintendents?Both institution boards and also superintendents make large decisions, and also who does what comes down to the way the ar is collection up. For example in September, Decatur Superintendent Maggie Fehman provided her very own authority to mandate vaccines for college employees.

That said, school boards can terminate or no renew a superintendent’s contract.

The existing uproar in ~ some school board meetings seems political. Are school boards partisan?Some are and also some aren’t. Atlanta’s plank elections room nonpartisan. However others like Gwinnett and Clayton room partisan, definition candidates’ party affiliations space on the ballot. Proponents for a partisan device say that voter are equipped with more knowledge around the candidates, defines Georgia State university educational leadership professor Kristina Brezicha. Enemies say institution boards should emphasis on education, not politics.

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In any case, this days every little thing feels politicized. So before you vote, it’s essential to understand what plans school plank candidates support and what your visions because that public schooling are. Public institution students “are eventually going to it is in the citizen of ours nation,” says Brezicha. “It’s a collective responsibility to be tuned in more.

Voting in the APS plank elections? First, find a map the the districts here, then find out out an ext about the candidates below:

District 1 Katie HowardWykeisha Howe

District 2 Aretta Baldon (incumbent)Keisha CareyBethsheba Rem

District 3 Michelle Olympiadis (incumbent)

District 4 Mikayla ArciagaJennifer McDonald

District 5Erika Y. Mitchell (incumbent)Raynard Johnson

District 6Eshé Collins (incumbent)Patreece Hutcherson

At-Large chair 7 (Districts 1 and 2)Patricia CraytonTamara JonesRoyce Carter MannStephen SpringKaCey Venning

At-Large seat 8 (Districts 3 and also 4)Cynthia Briscoe Brown (incumbent)Keedar Whittle

At-Large chair 9 (Districts 5 and also 6)Jason AllenJason Esteves (incumbent)D’Jaris James