Over a week after the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education candidate registration opened on July 7, not one person had filed to run for a seat.
Triangle Blog Blog noticed the lack of candidates and wrote a piece informing people that no one had run for any of the four open spots. They wrote about the concern that, if no one ran, right-wing groups like Moms for Liberty could stage a takeover of the school board.
Candidate registration closed four days after the article was published. Geoff Green, a writer for Triangle Blog Blog, said 52 people reached out to the blog asking for information about running for school board. Ultimately, 16 people, including three incumbents, filed to run for the school board.
CHCCS board vice chair George Griffin said when four seats are available, the board typically receives six to eight candidates.
“I've been here for 40-plus years in Chapel Hill, been in many elections, and I've never seen anything like this ever,” he said.
School board members implement programs and hire school employees, Griffin said.
“The primary role is setting policy for the district that is in line with community values, state and national law and educational best practices,” board chair Rani Dasi, who is running for reelection, said.
She said the board also plays a role in advocacy and creating awareness about education issues. The board engages with other elected officials and community partners to support education, Dasi said.
For CHCCS, the board is specifically working to close the achievement gap between white students and students of color, as well as improve other equity issues such as standardization between different schools’ programs, Griffin said. This is especially evident in elementary schools, where schools are using different reading or math programs which yield different results, he said.