Hopefully next week's election will draw a good crowd of people exercising our most precious rights as Americans. Unfortunately, our turnout is typically only good for the "high-stakes" elections for President, Congress and Governor. Even in those high profile elections, our participation rate falls far behind other democracies like Belgium, South Korea, and the UK (Niall McCarthy, "US Trails Most Other Developed Nations In Voter Turnout," Forbes, November 6, 2018")
In Sparta we have an important election every year. Each year we get to elect members of the Board of Education for three-year terms. Our school district is the largest employer in town; its budget dwarfs the municipal budget (and dominates your tax bill); and almost one of every six of our residents are students in its schools right now. Our schools are the pride of the township and one of our greatest assets.
Kim Bragg has been a member of the board since 2016 and is seeking re-election to her second full term. Kim has taken her role very seriously, attended more training in three years than anyone on the board during this time, does her own research on difficult issues, and is a strong, independent thinker. I've become friends with Kim in my own time on the board, and I always value her opinion because it is well-informed and she has our kids' safety and education as her top priority.
Todd Muth is seeking to get back on the board after serving one term a few years ago. Todd has a reputation of being a "good guy" and also takes his responsibilities very seriously. He's reliable and his demeanor fits well in a group where collaboration is so important. Todd's also comes to this election without an agenda; he just wants to contribute to our learning community in a selfless and meaningful way.
I don't know the other three candidates, but I wish them well. I've been told they are good people with good intentions, and I believe that. Spartans are lucky to be able to participate in an election that gives us real choices.
I choose Kim Bragg (#3) and Todd Muth (#2) for Sparta Board of Education on November 5th, and ask you to do the same.