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Resolution encourages school staff to vote

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, October 18, 2017
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Decatur ISD is encouraging its employees to vote, calling it a “civic duty that should be encouraged and promoted.”

The school board Monday approved a Culture of Voting resolution created by the Texas Association of School Boards. The resolution encourages school staff to “create a culture of voting and seeks to ensure maximum participation by district employees and eligible students in the elections process,” according to the resolution.

“It’s really intended to encourage participation, it’s not to tell people how to vote,” DISD Superintendent Judi Whitis said. “… It’s really just to create a culture in your system of awareness for all staff. It’s a very positive thing for us to do. We have a responsibility to our high school kids, so this carries it one step further to our staff members.”

Whitis said the resolution will be followed by information about what employees can and cannot do during elections.

The resolution includes eight provisions that can be used to ensure maximum participation by employees in the election process including:

  • creating material that informs staff about the importance of voting
  • creating information about when and where voting takes place
  • creating a voter pledge program
  • encouraging employees to use third party tools to learn about candidates’ positions on public education
  • conducting district-wide assemblies that promote a culture of voting
  • providing time during early voting for employees to vote
  • implementing no-cost incentives to promote voter participation, such as permitting employees with an “I Voted” sticker to wear jeans
  • encouraging district or campus coordination with volunteer organizations, such as PTA/PTO or retired educators groups, to encourage or facilitate the district’s efforts to create a culture of voting.

According to information included in the background information document provided by the district, the resolution, “shields superintendents from potential pushback from citizens who may not be interested in encouraging all eligible Texans to vote. It is an important message of support from the school board and it demonstrates a commitment to the basic principles of our democracy.”

The resolution is not connected to the state law that requires all high school principals to circulate voter registration forms to eligible students at least twice a year. Whitis said Decatur High School has followed that law and will continue to do so in the future.

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