As the Nov. 7 municipal elections fast approach, there’s a push for voter education in the Keystone State.
The Commonwealth is home to more than 1.7 million K-12 students in 500 school districts.
Amy McGahran is a volunteer with the League of Women Voters of Central Bucks County. She said five seats are open for the school board race, and 10 people are running.
She said the district is facing challenges based on policies that have been put in place by a majority of the existing school board that doesn’t fairly represent the community and, as she said, are “discriminatory” and hurtful to the students.
“One of those policies being a library-book restriction policy,” said McGahran, “which is basically a book ban, to remove books from our library that have already been selected and on the shelves by our library staff.”
McGahran pointed out they also have a censorship policy that limits what can be taught in classrooms.
Therefore, she said the League – along with other advocacy groups – is hosting a webinar on censorship in schools and the actions that Pennsylvanians can take in their communities. It’s Tuesday at 7 p.m.
McGahran said they want to bring common sense and compassion back to the school board. She added they are also concerned with what she calls “wasteful spending” by the Central Bucks County school district.
“Based on the book-ban policy, the school district hired a PR firm,” said McGahran. “And also based on the ACLU complaint, there was a Philadelphia lawyer hired, a very expensive Philadelphia law firm that did a report for the school district that cost the taxpayers over $1.4 million.”
She said the Pennsylvania American Civil Liberties Union – acting on a complaint – has taken legal action and filed a suit with the Pennsylvania Department of Education against the Central Bucks School District for discrimination and harassment of LGBTQ students.
Elizabeth Downing chairs the educational advocacy committee for the League of Women Voters of Bucks County.
She said recent decisions by the school board have led to the removal of sex education programs, leaving students without vital information and resources.
She emphasized the importance of civic engagement, stating, “Your vote counts.”
“The super number one thing we are telling everyone is please, please, please vote,” said Downing. “And even more importantly, be an informed voter. Go to VOTE411.org and other information sites that will tell you where your candidate stands on these sorts of issues.”
The last day to register to vote in the General Election is Oct. 23.
Oct. 31 is the last day to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot. These ballots must be received by the county board of elections by 8 p.m. on election day.
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EDITORIAL NOTE: This blog post was written by our intern, Anne Richard
All year long, I work with League volunteers around the country, supporting their efforts to reach and help inform voters through our national voter information site, VOTE411.org.