Only Men on the School Board, for the First Time in 40 Years

The Temple City Voice investigates this historical moment.

Written by KEVIN WU / Published March 30, 2012

In the history of Temple City, it’s been rare for the school board to not to have a woman as one of the members.

At least since 1970, the Temple City school board has had at least one woman, with two in 2007 that stayed until 2011.

However, this year the school board is composed of only males: Board President Matt Smith, Board Vice President Bob Ridley, Clerk Kien Tiet, Member Kenneth Knollenberg, and Member Joe Walker.

With this group, we are presented with a question of whether or not this may have a significant impact on the functions and decisions made by the school board. Especially now with increasing budget cuts, can the lack of diversity hamper the boards decisions and sway it to a more male dominated perspective?

For School Board President Matt Smith, the idea of having no woman on school board is a small issue that will not have a significant impact.

“I don’t think it will be much different. While it would certainly be nice to have a board that mirrors the general population that it serves, that in no way means it would be a better board than one that doesn’t mirror its community from a gender or race perspective,” said Smith. “Because I don’t know and have never been on a womanless board until now, all I can do is speculate. I would guess that there might be some minor differences but I don’t think any large noticeable differences”.

As the school board is elected by the people, Joe Walker states that the school board is a good representation of the opinion of the general public.

“The board does not decide who makes up the board, the voters of the community do,” said Walker. “The two ladies who were recently removed from the board were well known to everyone and their records and actions were quite contrary to the community norms.  So, they were voted off.  Right now, we have five highly qualified and serious board members, all of whom just happen to be men”.

The Voice also asked a few former female school board members; however, all declined to respond.

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