In recent years, school board meetings have become a hotbed for angry protesters who come to clash with trustees and amongst themselves over politically-charged issues such as COVID mitigation strategies and critical race theory.
These tensions have made the job of a school board member difficult. Last August, five members of the Elko County school board resigned. Last November, in Clark County, a group of angry protestors gathered outside of the home of one of the district’s trustees.
In Nevada, school boards are made up of trustees who are elected by voters to serve four-year terms. The number of trustees that make up each board depends on the size of the school district — Clark and Washoe have seven trustees, while other districts in the state have five. School board races are nonpartisan, meaning they are elected offices for which a political party may not nominate a candidate. Trustee candidates don’t appear with a party affiliation on the ballot.
But the increased politicalization of school board meetings means those races have quickly become political.
Recent events have inspired a wave of conservatives to become more engaged in school board races, or even run for a trustee seat themselves. In Washoe County, this has meant the formation of a new right-leaning group backing candidates critical of the district’s handling of COVID-19 policies and pledged to reverse or chart a different course on policies related to race, gender identity and social and emotional learning.
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