Do the Right Thing for Kids recent­ly ana­lyzed elec­tion results and can­vass data pub­lished by the KC Election Board from the past 5 bi-annu­al elec­tions (2000–2008) for the Kansas City Missouri School Board.  The analy­sis sup­ports what we believe is the fun­da­men­tal flaw in our cur­rent sys­tem for elect­ing School Board mem­bers — it fails to pro­duce a suf­fi­cient num­ber of qual­i­fied can­di­dates to fill open posi­tions.  In fact, 8 of the 9 cur­rent mem­bers of the School Board ran unop­posed (or were appoint­ed to) their posi­tions!  And when mul­ti­ple can­di­dates do run for an open posi­tion, vot­er turnout is exces­sive­ly low.  Our find­ings include:


- Since 2000, 58% of the “elect­ed” posi­tions were filled by can­di­dates who ran unop­posed (14 out of 24 seats)
— In the last 3 elec­tions, 77% of the seats (10 of 13) were won by can­di­dates who ran unop­posed
— In the last 2 elec­tions, the num­ber ris­es to 89% (8 of 9 seats)
— The Subdistrict 1 seat won by Arthur Benson in 2008 was won with only 379 votes which is ~1% of reg­is­tered vot­ers in that Subdistrict
— Since 2000, the aver­age % of reg­is­tered vot­ers who vote for a win­ning can­di­date in a con­test­ed elec­tion is just 7%
— The cur­rent School Board President has nev­er won a con­test­ed elec­tion (los­ing elec­tions in 1998 and 2000 and run­ning unop­posed in 2002 and 2006 for the cur­rent Subdistrict 6 posi­tion)


Based on recent his­to­ry, we can’t see how the the cur­rent sys­tem reflects any sort of demo­c­ra­t­ic process when 8 of 9 of the cur­rent board mem­bers were not elect­ed by pop­u­lar vote!  And the one can­di­date (Benson) who was in a con­test­ed elec­tion, won with just 379 votes in a write-in process!  How can a sys­tem that attracts so few can­di­dates be expect­ed to pro­duce tru­ly qual­i­fied lead­ers?


The thought that almost any­one, regard­less of qual­i­fi­ca­tions, can “win” an uncon­test­ed elec­tion and sit on the School Board should be deeply trou­bling to us all.

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