by Ron McNinch, UOG
for KUAM News
Following the primary election, September 4th is the last day to apply for the Guam School Board election. As part of a class project, we signed out a candidate packet and took a look at the procedures used for declaring candidacy.
Why is it so complicated to run for the school board? In fact it is as complicated to run for this minor office as it is to run for governor or legislator. You have to have police clearances, court clearances and a number of applications. You have to have financial disclosures, campaign reports and a host of other assorted documents.
To be frank, the requirements to run for the Guam school board are as screwed up as any other aspect of education policy. Part of this is from the addiction our elected leaders have with education. They love to talk about how they love education and want to help. If they are serious, they could start by fixing the way this board is selected.
In general, just let the governor appoint this board and have the legislature confirm. Otherwise, we end up with marginal commitments all around. Let me give a few examples.
The packet requires both a police clearance and a court clearance. Why don't we just make it a felony when people are not truthful about their criminal histories and require actual jail time as part of the sentence? Candidates are also required to file all sorts of campaign finance documents, just as normal candidates. What if a candidate for these small offices do not fundraise? There should be a $1000 or over reporting threshold. There is also a requirement to make candidates file financial disclosures. Why don't they just change it to an open declaration of conflicts? It is just silly to require all of these requirements.
The bottom line is that the school board should simply support the school system. That is if a person can actually figure out how to apply for these offices.