Voters here in Fort Dodge and elsewhere in Iowa go to the polls Tuesday to select school board members. Some voters may be tempted to regard these local contests as low priority.
The quality of the school system is among the most important determinants of a community's long-term prospects. School board members play a critical role in determining whether or not local schools measure up. When voters select high-caliber school board members they help ensure the schools that shape the community's children will be first-rate.
It bodes well for the future of the public school system that here in Fort Dodge and elsewhere throughout the region, public-spirited citizens are willing to seek the opportunity to serve the community in this important role.
Being a school board member is not for the faint of heart.
The issues these boards must confront are immensely challenging. They are also frequently contentious. There are very few things that Americans care about more than the education of their children. New board members learn quickly that just as the students who attend our schools are required to do significant homework, so too must they.
The quality of an area's schools has an enormous impact on economic development. Businesses seeking to expand or relocate pay close attention to the quality of the schools that will serve their workers' children. Consequently, a school board election affects even those people who don't have children or grandchildren in local schools. They should recognize that the success of those educational institutions could turn out to be very important to their own well-being.
Preparing young people to be men and women of character who have the knowledge and skills to keep our society vibrant is crucial to the future of every community.
The people voters pick for these vital school board posts will help shape tomorrow.
If you haven't already done so, spend some time thinking about the candidates for school board. And on Tuesday, be sure to vote.