Counties prepare to hold primaries for school board candidates

williamson county school bus
Posted at 5:13 PM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 20:18:20-05

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — A deadline is approaching for political parties across Tennessee for their intent to hold primary elections for school board members.

Friday, Dec. 10, the parties have to file a form with county election commissions in the state.

The new requirement is a direct result of a new special session law which allows counties to hold partisan elections. The candidates would appear on the primary ballot in May.

Many counties will participate, but Williamson, Wilson, Rutherford and Sumner County election commissions have all confirmed intent from political parties there.

Davidson County parties haven't released their decisions yet.

"Historically, school board members were non-partisan and they appeared only on the August county general election ballot," said Chad Gray, administrator of elections in Williamson County. "Now, they will be selected by political party nomination and those nominees and any independent candidates that qualify will appear on the ballot under the political party designation."

Candidates for school board still have a deadline in February if they intend to run for office.

The new rule faced opposition in the state legislature and even some parties participating are doing so because they feel they have to.

"A lot of people believe it will further divide our communities into political by the political spectrum," said Jenn Foley, leader of the Williamson County Democrats. "In some cases, it might discourage some people from running for office because they don't want to be affiliated with either political party."

Foley said they would hold primaries because if they don't only the republican candidates would be identified on next August's ballot.

"We support our educators. So, we're not going to shy away from these elections," she said.