What message was sent Tuesday?
Congratulations are obviously due to Fort Dodge Community School District incumbent board members Stu Cochrane and Brian Forsythe on being re-elected and to Lisa Shimkat, who will be serving her first term on the board.
Congratulations should also be offered to Randall Funchness, Troy Schroeder, William Offerman and John F. Williams, who cared enough about the education of the community’s young people to offer their services on the board and who made Tuesday’s election into a contest, instead of a shoo-in.
Kudos, however, are not in order for the approximately 90 percent of eligible Webster County voters who chose not to participate in Tuesday’s elections.
While it’s easy for the disenfranchised to say – at least at the national level – “Oh, my vote doesn’t make a difference,” that is pure poppycock at the local level where a very few votes can determine who sits at the table.
Fort Dodge Community School board members make decisions that will affect more than 3,700 students, and those board members have control over a budget of $63.7 million annually.
What they decide and how they spend those dollars should be a decision shared by everyone who can vote. How our young people are educated affects everyone in the community, regardless of whether they have children enrolled in the public schools.
The apathetic indifference shown by the 25,000 voters who didn’t show up during the 13 hours the polls were open sends a less-than-positive message to Webster County’s young people about how much the community is concerned about their education.