Dallas Public Schools: How to Keep an Eye on School Board Meetings (and Still Eat Dinner)

FullSizeRender (6)

So, you probably feel like you should be keeping an eye on the school board meetings. But those meetings, you hear, can be marathon sessions of wrangling and hyperbole and you have a four-year-old to put to bed. You have sleeping to do. You have a life to live.

This is probably why I got so excited this weekend when I met with Melissa Higginbotham of Dallas Kids First, and she showed me the group’s latest endeavor – a school board vote tracker. The last school board meeting is already up and ready to go, complete with how your trustee voted on each item on the agenda, which items got moved from the consent agenda for more discussion, and whether the item passed. They’ve also taken the time to note certain measures they feel are important – usually ones that impact students and teachers.

You don't need to make the trek to 3700 Ross Ave. anymore to see how your Dallas ISD school board representative voted.

You don’t need to make the trek to 3700 Ross Ave. anymore to see how your Dallas ISD school board representative voted.

Why is this important? As I said before, many people just don’t have the time to devote to sitting through school board briefings and meetings. I mean, unless it’s your job, it isn’t the most glamorous and relaxing way to spend your afternoon or evening (and to be honest, even if it is your job, it’s not the most glamorous and relaxing way to spend your afternoon or evening). Anything that makes it easier for people to have the important conversations we need to have about Dallas public schools is a good thing.

It’s also a useful tool when it comes time to vote. Being able to look back and track how your incumbent candidate voted on issues you feel are important should give you a better idea of whether you’ll cast your ballot to keep him or her in office, or vote for new blood.  Hopefully, this could even translate into better turnout for school board elections, as people feel more confident with the ease of researching the candidates in their district.