Early voting has been underway for two and a half days, and turnout numbers are very low. I get that there are many demands on people’s time and that this election is not as important to everyone as it is to the candidates, but I think everyone should go vote as soon as possible for the following reasons:
(1) This is going to be a low turnout election. The at-large positions are the only item on the ballot, and there are only three candidates for two positions. We had more than twice that many candidates last time I ran in 2015 and we had a single-member district up as well. With so much less motivating folks to go, there are going to be fewer voters.
(2) Your vote matters all the time but can mean more in low turnout races. Local school board elections can turn on one or two votes; they literally do across Texas. In fact, our last single-member election in San Marcos was decided by a handful of votes. There are always voters who support a candidate but don’t make it out to vote. In an election like this, that could cost the candidate you support the position.
(3) Our schools really matter. San Marcos has a single school system. All of us who have been here forever went through the same schools that our kids attend. Our schools prepare our kids for college and the job market, so as our schools go, so goes the community. If we do not close achievement gaps between the economically disadvantaged (which most of our kids are) in the early grades, most of our kids will never catch up and have a chance. If the schools do not increase the number of kids prepared to excel in higher education, our community’s economy will suffer for lack of innovation and knowledge and new businesses. If the schools do not insure everyone is literate and numerate and have interpersonal skills, those that choose career will not be able to earn a living wage to support their future families. Over the last 30 years, our schools haven’t done as good a job in these areas as our kids deserve. As a result, poverty has increased, and some of our kids have left our schools for neighboring districts or private options — creating even more issues for our schools to overcome.
(4) This election really matters. In 2015 and 2016, a majority of the school board turned over to new faces. The change that has come since has been huge. We increased educator’s compensation more than in any three-year period in history, we completely turned over administration and installed educators with classroom experience in every position, we passed a bond to provide classroom space to keep classes small, and we implemented core commitments that everyone work to increase college readiness and eliminate achievement gaps. All of that change has laid the foundation for big student performance gains and stands the chance, if we keep our focus and dedication, to change the future of San Marcos forever. This is not a time to change course or bring in a new trustee who has questioned the district’s direction.
So please don’t leave it until election day and set a time in your calendar to get vote at one of the following places in one of the following time slots:
Hays County Justice Center, 712 S. Stagecoach Trail, today – Friday until 5:00, Saturday 10 to 2, Monday April 30th until 7:00, Tuesday May 1st until 5:00.
Live Oak Health Dept, 401 A Broadway, today – Friday until 5