Local elections don’t often make big headlines. However, decisions made at the local level often do have a big impact on neighborhoods and communities. 
 
Like school boards. 
 
A school board holds great power when it comes to making decisions that can affect a community for generations to come. 
 
That’s why we think the upcoming election in the Ferguson-Florissant School District is so important.  
 
For years, the Ferguson-Florissant School District’s voting system diluted the voice of Black residents. That’s why the ACLU, on behalf of the NAACP and residents of the district, sued.
 
The courts found that because of the long history of institutionalized racism in schooling and housing, a traditional at-large voting system diluted the African-American vote in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act.  
 
In April, residents from all over Ferguson-Florissant will come and elect members to the two open seats on the school board using a new, fairer voting system.
 
Voters can cast two votes for Ferguson-Florissant School Board candidates. Voters may cast both votes for one candidate, or split them by giving one each to two different candidates. 
 
Because there have long been complaints about the Ferguson-Florissant School Board not being responsive to the community it serves, it is especially important that everyone who can vote in the district makes it to the ballot box in April. 
 
The school board makes decisions that affect residents, students and communities of the entire district. Its ultimate goal should be to improve the quality of education and student achievement for all students in the district’s local public schools. 
 
Some major responsibilities of school board members are to employ the superintendent, develop and adopt policies, curriculum and the budget, oversee facilities issues and adopt collective bargaining agreements. 
 
The Ferguson-Florissant School District covers 11 municipalities and serves over 11,000 students. The school board voted in October to adopt “Option 2” of district restructuring efforts. Among other changes, the plan includes the closing of three schools in the district, including an elementary school in predominately African-American Berkeley, Mo. The plan also turns the local high school, McCluer South-Berkeley, into a selective academy, leaving the community with no local, public schools.  
 
This Election Day, all Ferguson-Florissant School District residents can finally make their voice heard at the ballot box. 
 
Join us for a voter education and candidate forum on March 26 from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Greater Grace Family Church 3690 Pershall Road, Ferguson, MO 63135.
 
On April 2, be heard. Be represented. Be part of history. Vote.

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