In the Union City election on the question of whether or not we should have an elected school board rather than the present appointed board I attempted to organize serious discussion on the issue by having a series of debates before the Union City citizenry. The reason for the debates was for each side to confront the other rather than each side using political propaganda to advance their respective positions.
I wrote to each side on September 15 so as to afford enough time for the debates. Neither side responded except for Frank Scarafile who telephoned me on October 25 saying he would be willing to debate the issue and only after my letter was published in the newspaper.
Unfortunately no debates were scheduled and the public was left to the receiving political flyers and mailings, neither of which is impartial and unbiased.
A debate would have afforded the opportunity to question the school board on its questionable claim that they are responsible for the new school construction rather than said construction being part of the state plan for funding construction for new schools. As an Abbott (poor) school district Union City received $200 million of state monies for new school construction.
On the issue as to whether or not an elected board would result in politics being brought into the school system a debate would have answered this question as to whether this is a truism or a myth. A fact is that 90 percent of the school districts in the state are governed by elected school boards which are not political. Unfortunately, the issue of accountability was not raised by either side, and a debate could have raised this issue. Probably the largest issue in this election is the right of the citizen to vote for his or her representative on the school board. Neither side even attempted to raise these issues. It is a fact that with an elected school board the people have the right to vote. Conversely with an appointed school board the people do not have a right to vote. This right to vote is not limited to the candidates for election to the board but also the right to vote on the school budget.
Having lived with an elected school board and an appointed school board in Union City, my advice to the voter is simple. If the voter is willing to give up his or her right to vote then he or she will vote "No." However, if the voter wishes to retain his or her right to vote then he or she will vote "Yes."