School Board candidates in Guilford County will have to declare their party affiliation starting with the 2016 election. The move to do away with non-partisan elections comes from a law passed by the General Assembly last month. The measure also decreases the number of school board seats in Guilford from 11 to 9 and re-draws district lines so they’re the same as County Commissioners.
"I think it’s appalling. School boards have no business being partisan. Partisan school boards would have the tendency to get all tied up in ridiculous things like the General Assembly has done," said School board member Nancy Routh.
Routh said she wasn’t aware of anyone on the school board who supported the new law. Republican John Hardister sponsored the bill in the House. He says the change will make elections more transparent and could increase voter participation.
"Having partisan elections in school boards will simply give more information to the voter, it will make the elections more transparent and it will probably increase voter participation because a lot of voters skip voting in the school board elections because they don’t know much about the candidates," Hardister said.
Guilford becomes the 16th school board in the state to have members declare a political affiliation. The legislature also changed the school board election process in Wake and Pitt Counties.