School board incumbent Oletha Jones is running for re-election

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Almost immediately after taking my seat as School Board Commissioner of South Bend Community School Corp. I could very well have voted no, but in the spirit of cooperation I abstained because there was not enough information. But perhaps an even stronger reason for abstaining was that the previous board majority had failed to include the public in an open and transparent process.

Transparency is a process that I constantly urged the SBCSC school board to establish, long before my election. It is for these reasons that I received a very prestigious award from the League of Woman Voters, the “Making Democracy Work Award”. This award is confirmation that I had started delivering on a campaign promise in 2018 that change would start with me. I strongly believe that the SBCSC should be governed with full disclosure of information and meaningful public input, as required by any representative democracy.

Voters should be provided with enough information to make judgments based on clearly articulated facts. Society officials should expect to do our business in the public eye and to be held accountable for our actions by our constituents. I will continue to work to lift the veil that has obscured the actions of the Board for so long. It’s not as difficult and elusive as some would have the community believe.

In addition to pushing for an open and honest governance system, I will continue to work with the board to ensure a fair distribution of resources. As a board member of SBCSC, I have always worked for justice, inclusion, also including anti-racism practices to address structural inequalities and discrimination. I ensured that these policies were included in the strategic plan.

Now that we have them on paper, I will continue to use justice and inclusion to set policy. Structural barriers for underachieving students in society still exist and we need a study to understand where this is happening. Additionally, we need to establish a policy around justice and inclusion so that there is a foundation with a history and context, much like what is described in the Board Fairness Statement written by Stuart Greene at name of the school board. We are far from where we should be right now, but efforts are being made and we need to make sure the work continues and spread best practices across the business.

I will continue to push for an open and honest governance process and for real practices of justice and inclusion. I will also continue to work to protect public education if re-elected. There are legitimate concerns throughout the community that society may succumb to privatization through outsourcing, thereby limiting people’s control and voice over how society is governed and operated. I have vigorously resisted efforts to outsource the services SBCSC provides to students, teachers, administrators, and employees. We must be fiscally responsible, and we can without divesting and dismantling society.

Oletha Jones, who represents District 2 on the South Bend Community School Corp. board of directors, is up for re-election.

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