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House Education Approves Resolution That Would Require Party Affiliations In Board Of Ed Elections

Cody Thompson House Education Feb 3 2022.jpg
Perry Bennett
WV Legislative Photography
Minority Vice Chair of House Education Del. Cody Thompson, D-Randolph, speaks during a meeting of the House Education Committee on Feb. 3, 2022.

The West Virginia House Education Committee approved a resolution late Thursday afternoon that would require people running for their local boards of education to list their party affiliation during elections.

Delegates debated House Joint Resolution 106 for more than an hour. If approved by the full legislature, the resolution would go to West Virginia voters where they would decide at the ballot in November if boards of education races should be partisan.

Historically, these races have been nonpartisan.

Democrats argued in committee that the resolution would politicize the races, saying people would likely only vote for a candidate based on their party rather than their education or background.

“I think the best way, and I give credit to the folks of West Virginia, to talk to and ask questions of those running for boards of education at those town halls. Ask them what their policies are, ask them what their beliefs are,” said Minority Vice Chair of House Education Del. Cody Thompson, D-Randolph. “I just don't agree with making these decision makers at the local level more partisan and drawing more controversy than is needed.”

Republicans argued the party affiliation will help voters know where candidates stand on issues.

“This simply gives the voters more information on platforms, on coalitions, and I think more information for the voter is good,” said Del. Jordan Maynor, R-Raleigh, who is a sponsor of the resolution. “I keep hearing a lot about local control, and I really don't know how more local you can get than to put a referendum on the November ballot, to put it in the people's hands to decide if they want to move forward with this.”

County school boards across the nation have been under fire in the past two years over masking mandates and subject matter in schools.

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