In a recent Advocate article announcing “20 candidates vie for school board” in Lafayette Parish, local leaders of business organizations promote their notion of how a school board should function — like a business, unsurprisingly — and suggest that support for the turnaround plan and their Common Vision project should be your voting guide.

The director of an upper Lafayette development organization describes current School Board operations as “micromanagement.” I call it that myself sometimes. Yet one person’s “micromanagement” is another’s “prudent oversight.” It depends on whose ox is being gored. No one envies the elected board members for having to make tough decisions on the public’s behalf for little compensation and less appreciation.

Voters should be proud and thankful that 20 candidates stood up for the parish School Board. Each voter will have time to get to know the candidates and to determine what qualities, characteristics, platforms and policies they want their elected representative to embody and to support. Each voter will have their own list of must-haves and good-to-haves in a School Board candidate.

For instance, I value independent thinking, equity for all children, fighting to correct poor policy whether its source be local, state, or federal, and mindfulness of good words and attitudes in the midst of healthy disagreement. But don’t use my criteria for your voting choice. Make your own list.

I applaud each voter — and every able citizen 18 or over should be a voter — for taking this opportunity to independently evaluate candidates and for making an informed choice of School Board representative on Nov. 4. It’s important. Let your conscience be your guide.

Ann Burruss

adjunct instructor