Parents should make voices heard

Elections for the school board of the Indian River School District are this week. Residents of District 2 — the areas outside of Millsboro and Georgetown — will go to the polls on Tuesday, May 11, voting from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. as to who they’d like to represent them on the school board, making decisions about their children’s education, and their neighbors’ children’s education, and, well, the future of the universe. Because that’s how important our children’s school environment is.

In District 3, Randall Hughes is uncontested for another three-year term. No one else filed to run for the seat. The incumbent in District 2 is current board vice president Kelly Willing, and she is being challenged by Rodney Layfield for the three-year term on the board.

Layfield is a state trooper, director of the State Bureau of Identification and a Sussex Central High School graduate and said the main reason he wanted to run is because he has two young children in the district. “I’d like to be an advocate for the parents,” he said.

Amid the controversies in the IR school district in recent years, one thing has been clear: parents often feel like they’re not being listened to by the school board, be it about the expense of lawsuits, the consideration of cutting funding for extracurricular activities or the decisions not to guarantee the continued presence of important people in their children’s lives, such as vice principals, librarians, and music and arts teachers.

Times are tough, and everyone has felt it close to home. But nowhere does the impact of our tax dollars — and our votes — show more than in our schools. If we want to retain quality teachers, we must pay them well. If we want to keep classes that don’t “teach to the test” but inspire our youth and their futures, we must make that clear to our legislators and school board members.

Tuesday’s elections are one time we can do that — perhaps the time when it has the most immediate effect. But every week, every day, of each school year, parents — and non-parent taxpayers — have the ability to make their voices heard, to help guide their children’s futures and that of the nation and beyond.
If you live in District 2, make sure to vote. If you don’t get an outcome you support, consider running next election. But, above all, make sure to make your voice heard, for kids’s sakes, and that of us all.