Previously, the OC Board of Education (“OCBOE”) existed in relative obscurity, but it is now emerging as a prominent player in the public education process, because of the charter school movement.
Because taxpayer dollars are used to fund charter schools, they cannot exist unless they first receive approval from the local school district. If a charter school’s application for a license is denied, it can appeal to the OCBOE. The OCBOE can override the school district ruling, and grant a license to the charter school. Consequently, the charter school lobby is currently spending huge amounts of money in order to elect candidates to the OCBOE who are supportive of charter schools.
There are five members on the County Board. Thus, only three pro-charter candidates are necessary to constitute a voting majority. If/when three such members are installed, there will likely be a proliferation of charter schools. If limited public funds are increasingly diverted to charter schools, conventional public schools will face a potentially catastrophic funding crisis.
Therefore, these races matter. What many people do not realize, is elections for the County Board of Education are the ONLY elections which are decided in June. There is no November election for these races. Moreover, the races are non-partisan, meaning that no “D” or “R” appears next to the candidates’ names on the ballot. As such, it is critical that we heighten our public awareness on these issues and spread the word. Otherwise, there is a very real possibility that our public education system will suffer dramatically.