20 Aug 2014
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Why No Competition for South City School Board?

Two incumbent trustees will refill seats unopposed this year.

Why No Competition for South City School Board?

On Tuesday South San Franciscans will vote on everything from the death penalty to state assembly candidates, but there's no competition for South City school board's two open seats. 

President of the board, Judy Bush, and trustee Maurice Goodman are each running for reelection unopposed, which means they won't appear on the ballot.

"I've been trying to retire for the past two years," said Vice President of the board, Phil Weise. "But I'm afraid too." He said he hasn't seen any significant interest in the job from individuals in the community.

Weise said unopposed candidates were rare in the early 2000's for South City's schools board. He thinks that the amount of time that the job requires, compared to the small compensation is part of what makes people hesitant to run. That small compensation dropped even more, from around $500 to below $300, since district enrollment decreased to be below 10,000 students in recent years.

School board trustee Liza Normandy said that the most recent competitive race she remembers was in 2006, when 7 candidates ran for 3 spots. In 2008, 3 candidates ran for 2 seats, and she ran unopposed in 2010.

"We've had a lot of voices at the podium," Normandy said about public commenters at board meetings, "but no one submitted their paperwork [to run]."

The money required to run for office can also deter potential candidates. Normandy spent a couple thousand dollars out of pocket in her first school board election in 2006.

The exchange of ideas and public conversation that occurrs during political campaigns is what democracy is all about, Weise said. When there's no competition, these benefits are lost.

"[It] helps you to evolve your attitudes, even if you're an incumbant," he said. "Sometimes someone will bring something up that you’ve never thought about. Even if that person loses, the idea is still around."

Tell us why you think there are not more candidates for school board in the comments section below.

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