Mishawaka School Board: Appointed vs Elected?


If you want to sit on the Mishawaka School Board you may soon have to run for election to do it.

“We're pretty optimistic at this point that it is going to happen,” says Karen Mowery from the group Mishawaka Education Focus.

In the past all five board members have been appointed by Mishawaka's Common Council but the group wants to change that.

According to Mowery, “Of the nine councilmen there, two people who sit on the council right now who did not live in the School City of Mishawaka boundaries and yet appointed our school board members… it’s just worrisome they might not chose the best candidate out there.”

They're planning to get five thousand signatures calling for a voter referendum that would ask people if they want an elected school board.

Some current board members say elections only create problems and instability within the school board and system.

“I think an elected board creates a single opportunity for a single issue candidate to become a board if he has the money and has the campaign savvy he can get elected,” says Chuck Wayne, a current School City of Mishawaka School Board Member.

One former member of the school board, Mike Wojtysiak, says it’s time for a change.

“I think because you are appointed there is this perception out there that that we are not as approachable, that we are not being elected by the individuals because people are not going out there and pulling the lever for you,” says Wojtysiak.

Before any levers are pulled signatures must be gathered from twenty percent of school district’s registered voters on whether or not they'd like to vote for the next school board member.

“Geez its 2007 I think I think the City of Mishawaka can choose its own school board members the voters can,” says Wojtysiak.

This Saturday and next Saturday 30 to 40 people will go door to door in Mishawaka asking registered voters to sign the petition.

If they get the numbers they need the question could be on the ballot as soon as this spring but it’s more likely it would be on November ballot.

School City of Mishawaka is only one of sixteen schools in the state with a school board that's appointed and not elected by voters.

There are 293 school boards in Indiana.


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