A sad state of apathy

The recent forum offered by the School Board Association, presented at Parkersburg South High School last Saturday morning, provided a rare opportunity to involve everyday citizens in the process of picking their next school superintendent. Four candidates were provided with 40 minutes during which they could just talk or attempt to answer questions submitted by citizens and members of the school board with no restrictions on how many questions were answered or how they spent the time. It was well worth the time for the few concerned citizens that attended. I commend the organizers for a job well done.

Those with whom I spoke afterwards clearly preferred the presentation by Kenneth Moles for too many reasons than can be presented here, but suffice it to say, I, for one, concur with that recommendation.

However, what was/is most disturbing to me was the small number of people that came to participate in this process. Our student population is north of 10,000 but the attendance at the meeting was barely in the vicinity of 100. Is there no more than one percent of parents in this county that could spare three hours to see just who their school board thinks worthy of being a finalist for this highly paid and highly important position in our community? That’s pretty sad. Yes, people are busy, but what is more important than our kids’ futures?

It is precisely this kind of apathy that has created the situation we are in across America and West Virginia. Some sources contend that 20 million professed Christians who are registered to vote stayed home in November 2012. What a difference even half of those voters might have made for our country had they taken a few minutes to vote their values in that election!

The same holds true for local elections. We have an opportunity to choose a majority of the school board seats on May 13. How much do you really know about the people you will vote for. You get to vote for three. Those three votes can do just as much, if not more, for the health of our community than any delegate, senator, or county clerk that might be on the ballot. They set the policies and make the decisions that will shape our kids. Do you care enough about our future to pay attention to who is making those decisions? I hope so.

Tom Stark

Parkersburg