With all the political hoopla in the past few weeks focused on other races, the upcoming election for all 12 members of the Caddo Parish School Board drew scant, if any attention. Not that these elected positions are not important – – quite the contrary. The large number of candidates who qualified for this 12 member board was a pleasant surprise to political observers.
The general public’s dissatisfaction with quality of Caddo public education is clearly reflected by the challenges to incumbent school board members. Only 2 of the current members were unopposed; Lillian Priest and Curtis Hooks did not seek re-election. Thus 10 seats could change hands.
Jasmine Green (District 2), and Ginger Armstrong (District 11) have 2 challengers. Bonita Crawford (District 8) has 3 opponents.
A race that could draw attention throughout the city is in District 10 where incumbent Larry Ramsey faces Doc Voorhies. This southwest Shreveport district has changed in demographics, and Ramsey has had recent health issues. Voorhies, a well respected community activist, could draw substantial cross over votes.
The School Board has been in a neutral gear for many years, – – due in large part due to a 6-6 black white racial makeup. Major decisions such as school closings, academic policies, and even the selection of Superintendent Goree were dictated more by race than merit. Whether or not a 6-6 racial stalemate will continue on the School Board after this years elections is a fact yet to be know.
What is known that the School Board has a relatively new Superintendent in Goree who needs the support of a clear majority of the Board. The overall quality of Caddo Parish public schools is not a attractive factor for both the retention of existing businesses and recruitment of new businesses. Its no secret that the outmigration by Caddo residents to DeSoto and Bossier Parishes is fueled by lower taxes and the quality of public education. Hopefully these races will not get lost in the political shuffle over the next 2 months; these elections are just to critical to Caddo citizens.