Questions for School Board Candidates

Every school district is different, but there are a number of issues in education that are common to many districts in Louisiana and should be explored in this year’s school board elections.

To that end, CABL has compiled this list of sample questions that voters, civic organizations and the news media might consider asking their school board candidates. This list is comprehensive, there may be more interest in some questions than others, and there are no doubt local issues that should be part of the discussion, as well.

But we believe this list offers a good framework for public dialogue on public education in communities across Louisiana. Even if candidates don’t get asked every one of these questions, every candidate should certainly be prepared to answer them.

  1. What is the status of student academic achievement in your district?
  2. What are the educational gaps or weaknesses in your district?
  3. What are the educational strengths in your district?
  4. What do you see as the board’s roles and responsibilities?
  5. How would you describe an effective school board member?
  6. What is your vision for education in the community?  How does it support the economy and quality of life in the community?
  7. How will you engage the community to improve public schools in the district?
  8. Do you believe all children can perform at grade level, including those in low-performing, high-poverty schools?
  9. What in your background leads you to believe that you would be an effective school board member?
  10. What are your three overall education priorities that, in a perfect world, you would accomplish during your time in office? How will you go about achieving them? Why are these the most important?
  11. How should the district address underperforming schools?
  12. Do you believe school leaders (principals) should have autonomy to run their own school building?
  13. Do you support opening public school classrooms to well-educated people from other careers and giving them a fast-track route to becoming qualified teachers?
  14. What is your view on merit pay for teachers?  Do you believe in using incentives to attract highly effective teachers or teachers in shortage fields such at math and science?
  15. What are your views on allocating education funding in your district so that the money follows the child?
  16. How should school board members evaluate school and student performance in your district?
  17. How can the school board be more accountable to the public on student achievement, school performance and progress over time?
  18. What is your view of the role of charter schools in public education? What is your position on charter schools?
  19. Do you agree or disagree that the Louisiana School Accountability System is good public policy?
  20. Rank the following strategies for improving student performance in the order that would be your priority for the school system.
  • New principal development
  • New career and technical educational solutions
  • Charter schools
  • Magnet schools
  • Comprehensive truancy/dropout prevention programs
  • Expansion of early childhood (Pre-K) programs
  • Merit-based teacher compensation
  • Principal autonomy
  • Year-round schools