NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For the first time in state history, school board elections will become partisan this year.
That means voters will have to know more about the candidates before next Tuesday's county primary election.
Walk into any precinct, and voters will be swarmed with signs, sounds and sales pitches from campaign volunteers, and that's for a reason.
"A lot of people don’t even know their names. A lot of people don’t know the districts that they're in," said Joann Pendergrass, a campaign volunteer.
So what do you when you need to know more about a school board candidate than just their name?
A Nashville nonprofit has seized on that opportunity.
"We did our listening session tours and we published the only voter guide that’s solely focused on school board races," said Tanaka Vercher, executive director of Opportunity Nashville.
Opportunity Nashville isn't endorsing anyone, they're just providing answers posed to each Metro school board candidate so that the voters can make their own decision.
"It gives the community a resource for them to find out about their respective school board candidates," Vercher said.
Vercher said she decided to do this for two reasons.
"This is a historic moment for the city. Our school board races have never been partisan so that means you’re going to vote in the primary, then you’re going to vote again in August," she said.
She also felt like school board races don't get enough attention, despite their wide-ranging impact.
"Our school district receives over $1 billion of the city’s $2 billion budget, so it’s really important that we elect leaders that can make that change in our school district," Vercher said.
It's all in the hope that when voters show up to the polls, the names on the signs will look a little more familiar.
Be advised, some school board districts have changed after the redistricting process, so make sure you double-check your district before you head out to vote. The election commission also provides a sample ballot for voters.
Early voting runs until Thursday, April 28. Election Day is Tuesday, May 3.
The general election is Aug. 4.