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Are you ready to cast your vote for school board? If not, here’s a no-excuses guide.

From school buses to schoolhouses and everything in between. school board members make big decisions. Yet their names and the issues they deal with are a mystery to many voters. The good news: There is plenty of time to get up to speed before the primary election on Tuesday. [Times (1999)]
From school buses to schoolhouses and everything in between. school board members make big decisions. Yet their names and the issues they deal with are a mystery to many voters. The good news: There is plenty of time to get up to speed before the primary election on Tuesday. [Times (1999)]
Published Aug. 23, 2018|Updated Aug. 23, 2018

How many of us get near the end of the ballot — all the way to the school board races — and have no idea what's going on?

So we guess, going with the candidate who sounds most familiar. We choose a name we saw on a campaign sign, or we vote based on something a friend said. Some of us give up and skip those races altogether.

Let's see a show of hands. … We thought so.

Yet school board members are responsible for most of your property tax bill, and they're the biggest employers in your county — not to mention the impact they have on families' lives.

In the interest of enlightening voters on the issues in time for Tuesday's primary election, here is our no-excuses guide to a school board race near you.

For detailed information on the candidates, including their positions on issues, consult the Tampa Bay Times Know Your Candidates Voter Guide. And below is a county-by-county roundup of the Times coverage of the races so far:

Hillsborough County

Superintendent Jeff Eakins speaks during a recent School Board meeting in Hillsborough County. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Superintendent Jeff Eakins speaks during a recent School Board meeting in Hillsborough County. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]

June 22: There are four Hillsborough school board races. Three could go to runoffs.

June 22: On the campaign trail: For Hillsborough County School Board

July 17: The things School Board candidates say…. on the campaign trail in Hillsborough (Part I)

July 20: The contest for School Board District 4

Aug. 16: Teachers complain about campaign material in their email

Pinellas County

Pinellas County school district headquarters in Largo. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Pinellas County school district headquarters in Largo. [DIRK SHADD | Times]

June 7: Pinellas teachers union endorses School Board candidates, steering clear of incumbents

June 12: Pinellas School Board candidate calls opponent's district address 'disingenuous'

July 5: Three with varied experience vie for Pinellas School Board District 2 seat

July 12: District 3 candidates see challenges and potential for Pinellas schools

July 12: Pinellas School Board candidates talk inequity, retaliation and more at wide-ranging forum

July 17: In District 6, School Board candidates offer ideas on teacher pay, achievement gap and more

July 25: Pinellas School Board forum draws ideas for achievement gap and neighborhood schools

Aug. 1: In District 7 Pinellas School Board race, three challengers take on incumbent Flowers

Pasco County

Superintendent Kurt Browning shares the dais with the Pasco County School Board at a recent meeting. [JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | Times]
Superintendent Kurt Browning shares the dais with the Pasco County School Board at a recent meeting. [JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | Times]

July 26: Across the political divide, Pasco School Board candidates agree on opposition to Amendment 8

Aug. 7: A school board campaign gets rough: 'Let's meet face to face … big boy!'

Aug. 9: Attendance zones key issue in Pasco District 3 School Board race

Aug. 9: Pasco School Board member faces first challengers in his 12-year tenure

Aug. 9: Four younger candidates vie for open Pasco School Board seat

Aug. 20: Incumbent Pasco County School Board member loses Republican support over Common Core

Aug. 22: Ten Pasco School Board candidates talk about contentious attendance zone changes

Hernando County

Part of the Hernando County fleet of school buses. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Part of the Hernando County fleet of school buses. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]

Aug. 15: Incumbent chairman and newcomer battle for Hernando's District 1 School Board seat

Aug.15: Candidates for Hernando's District 3 School Board seat talk mental health, technical education

Aug. 15: Brooksville pastor challenges longtime principal trying for reelection to Hernando's District 5 School Board seat