From guest blogger Alyssa Morones
In an effort to encourage civic engagement in local school boards, Ballotpedia recently launched a new portal devoted to covering school board elections in the nation's 1,000 largest school districts.
Much like Wikipedia, Ballotpedia is a nonprofit, nonpartisan collaborative encyclopedia aimed at keeping citizens well informed and engaged in politics. The site provides information, but it also lets its readers contribute their own knowledge to it. Contributors can either edit an existing page or create a new one, and all entries are monitored and edited by staff.
Project director Daniel Anderson said, "Ballotpedia is meant to help connect people to politics, to help citizens become better informed. [With this new portal] we're trying to do the same at the school board level."
Ballotpedia's school board portal gives insight into the intricacies of each district, including their budgets, teacher salaries, deadlines for elections, and how an election outcome could impact the school district.
The team also writes news articles on each of the school boards for the site. They recently published their first two on Tuscaloosa City Schools and Birmingham City Schools in Alabama. There's also a page that includes a list of all the school board elections for the coming year.
"Education, specifically at the local and school board level, is dramatically undercovered," said Anderson. "We hope that by filling the gap and providing people with the information necessary to make informed decisions, we can make a real difference."