The next Sioux Falls School Board election is four or five months away, and it should be a good one.
No, seriously. I’m pretty confident it’s actually going to be an interesting race, for once.
I believe this for two reasons: school consolidation and substitute teacher pay.
When the board rebuffed Theresa Stehly’s demands for better pay for subs, she pledged to recruit candidates to take their place.
In the wake of last month’s decision to close Longfellow and Jefferson and replace Mark Twain elementaries, unhappy central Sioux Falls residents aim to install board members sympathetic to their cause.
If the anti-consolidation folks do manage to seat two new board members who agree with them, there would be time to change directions and save the schools. And it would be easier to do than collecting signatures to refer the decision to a public vote.
Kate Parker, the only board member of the five who voted against consolidation, will be on the board through 2015. Up for re-election in 2013, if they still want the job, are Kent Alberty and Julie Westra.
Westra, a newcomer in 2010, got 45 percent of the vote in a three-person race. Alberty got 42 percent, winning a second term.
It sounds like they’ll have a much tougher race this spring – again, that’s if they choose to run. I don’t know either way.
It’s likely the school board election will be combined with a city vote on snow gates, another of Stehly’s pet projects.
Given the usual paltry turnout for these elections, I could see a pro-substitute-teacher, anti-consolidation school board candidate doing quite well considering voter motivation on these issues.
And it wouldn’t hurt if the candidate hates shoveling snow.