Local Group Prepared for Everything in Pursuit of Elected NJ-SP School Board

Matt Bailey speaks from the podium at The Carpenter's Yard in North Judson.
Matt Bailey speaks from the podium at The Carpenter’s Yard in North Judson.

A group of concerned citizens is hoping to raise awareness and strive to make a change at the North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation.

Dozens attended a meeting held Thursday night by the group calling itself Bluejay Nation Pride. Their stated goal is transitioning the NJ-SP school board from an appointed body to an elected one. Matt Bailey is among those heading up the group. He says there’s an obvious reason for preferring an elected board.

“We the People get to be involved. I mean, we actually get to be involved in who is going to be placed in those seats as a school board to make decisions on behalf of us as parents and citizens in the community,” says Bailey. “And they’re held accountable to us.”

Reasons behind requesting the change vary depending on the person, but Bluejay Nation Pride says declining enrollment and poor school ratings top the list.

According to the group, 96-percent of the school boards in Indiana are elected. The NJ-SP School Board, however, is currently appointed by an advisory board selected by the Township Trustees within the school district.

There are several possible outcomes as the effort progresses. The school board could voluntarily vote to become an elected body, or they could vote against it resulting in a petition to take the issue to referendum. Each requires the development of a transition plan that is approved at the state level.

Bailey says the timing has to be right for changes like this.

 “I really felt this for quite some time. But I really felt just in the last couple of months that this is the right time for North Judson,” says Bailey. “It’s the right time for us to come together as a community to see what we need to do to make this happen.”

Bluejay Nation Pride says they are well aware that even if the effort succeeds, it should not be considered a catchall for solving the school corporation’s problems.

Those affiliated with the operation have already approached the North Judson-San Pierre School Board asking members to take a voluntary vote. Further consideration of the issue is expected during Tuesday’s school board meeting.