Attend candidates’ forum on June 29 | In Our Opinion

On Aug. 1, voters in Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, and in North and Central Kitsap will narrow down the field of candidates for city councils, mayor, and school boards in their communities.

Central Kitsap and North Kitsap residents will have their first chance to Q&A with candidates for their respective school boards from 7-9 p.m. June 29 at Poulsbo City Hall.

The League of Women Votes will moderate a candidate forum featuring North Kitsap School Board District 3 candidates April Ferguson, Dick Lockwood, and Beth Worthington; and Central Kitsap School Board District 5 candidates Eric Greene and Jason Skifstad (there will be a primary in this race because Bob Grady will be on the ballot, although he has unofficially withdrawn, according to the League).

The forum is free and open to the public. We encourage residents to attend and bring questions for the candidates. Here’s why.

State law empowers school board members to “determine and adopt written policies” regarding educational programs, activities and services for students in grades K-12. School boards are responsible for “the effective, efficient, or safe management and operation” of our schools. School boards hire and evaluate the superintendent, establish curriculum standards in accordance with the law and rules of the superintendent of public instruction, and evaluate teaching materials.

School boards also propose bond and tax levy initiatives to finance capital improvements (bonds) and education enhancements (levies).

School boards are required to comply with the Open Public Meetings Act, and provide “a reasonable opportunity” for public comment and consideration at meetings. State law also states that school boards “shall be held accountable for the proper operation of their district to the local community and its electorate.”

That’s where you, the voter, comes in.

Your school board works for you, is the steward of your tax dollars, and makes decisions on your behalf. Those decisions directly affect the quality of education in your community.

You owe it to yourself to get to know the candidates now, not after Election Day. Participate in this forum.

Coming up: Look for our primary election voters guide on July 7 in this and other Kitsap News Group newspapers.