As I said before, I'm not happy that the candidate I chose decided to take the JCTA endorsement, but I do understand it. A school board position pays next to nothing and campaign material is expensive. JCTA's endorsement bring their own money machine that they use to buy billboards, tons of signs, and gets them in your face when you're trying to vote. Chris Brady mentioned their support in ads and two separate robocalls, but by using their PAC name, avoided connecting their endorsement directly to the teachers union.
But does this spending matter? Chuck Haddaway won this year without their endorsement, and a few years ago, the JCTA made an embarrassing choice of David Toborowsky in the District 3 race that backfired. In the last District 7 race, Larry Hujo's only opponent chose not to put his kids in JCPS and was focused on fringe issues incidental to education.
Given the attention to JCPS, the Student Assignment Plan, and busing, I have to think that the people of Louisville are paying some attention to the schools and the school board race. While I think seeing a candidate's name constantly might be an advantage in attracting voters who aren't informed, I would hope that there are enough people who researched, watched news reports, and possibly talked to the candidates themselves before making their decision.
I'd love to see the hundreds of thousands spent by JCTA and others out of these races, and I'd also love to see our news media take a greater interest in the races than they have and assign reporters who will test the candidate's knowledge of JCPS and challenge their ideas for improvement. It's not enough to say you want to improve schools or want neighborhood schools, we need to understand your plan.
So what do you think? Are school board elections swayed by JCTA, or do we elect the candidates that truly represent our views?