Serving on a local school board is difficult and thankless, but still necessary | Editorials

Several school board vacancies in Lancaster County remain unfilled after the May 16 primary election. As LNP reported May 23, there simply weren’t enough candidates to fill the vacancies in Columbia Borough, Manheim Central, Pequea Valley and Solanco school districts. For example, one Republican and no Democrat sought the nominations for a pair of two-year seats up for election this year in Columbia. Other school board openings with no candidates were a four-year seat and a two-year seat in Manheim Central, a four-year seat in Pequea Valley and a four-year seat in Solanco.

It’s a demanding, often thankless job. But someone has to do it. Finding that someone is becoming increasingly difficult.

Unless it’s Manheim Township, where controversy over the planned construction of a new middle school has aroused the passions of candidates and voters alike, or the School District of Lancaster, which had a competitive race, there doesn’t seem to be much appetite for serving on a local school board. That’s a shame.

Why the lack of interest?

“A lot of those positions are maybe not given the proper thanks that is due to them,” Pennsylvania School Boards Association spokesman Steve Robinson told LNP. “They’re looking into sometimes challenging finances that require them to really take a look at things and make some tough decisions.”

Jonathan Lutz, Columbia’s Republican committee chair, broke it down further.

“I don’t think anybody wants to take the blame for raising property taxes,” he said.

“You’re doing things that impact your next-door neighbor, the guy down the street, the guy that you see every week at the grocery store,” Lutz told LNP. “People don’t want to go to the grocery store and have to answer questions about property tax issues.”

We get it. No one wants his neighbors to look sideways at him in the post…

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