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The next school board's tasks

January 03, 2006

Over the years, The Herald-Mail has encouraged candidates to file for office early, to give citizens a chance to know them and learn about their positions.

But seldom does anyone declare as early as Russell Williams, an incumbent member of the Washington County School Board who filed his paperwork to run again Dec. 12 - about seven months ahead of the deadline.

We welcome Williams' decision because it gives other would-be candidates a chance to see who is running. If the candidates who announce early are good, experienced people, others might not feel compelled to seek a seat.

The Herald-Mail will endorse candidates later, but it is fair to say now that the board on which Williams has served has been a professional, policy-making group, as opposed to a collection of individuals trying to micro-manage the system. Board members, for the most part, have allowed staff to handle the day-to-day matters.

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The next group of board members elected will have to oversee the design and construction of many new schools - and provide temporary classroom space while those new schools are being built.

The next board will also have to grapple with some of the issues raised by the Minority Achievement Task Force, whose report called for new initiatives to improve education for all students, no matter their ethnic background or economic circumstances.

In a related issue, the next board will have to revamp the curriculum for Family Life classes, to deal with an unacceptably high teen pregnancy rate.

It's a full plate, but certainly not a "meal" for the faint of heart.

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