KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County’s Board of Education members share their thought on a bill recently pass allowing school board elections to become partisan races. It was passed during the special session addressing COVID-19 in Tennessee’s General Assembly.

“I don’t feel like it is a partisan issue. I feel like personally on the school board, I look at every issue and try to make the decision that I think is the best for the students of Knox County Schools,” said Knox County BOE member Virginia Babb.

“To bring in those ideologies into our local school board is going to cause people to not look for movement for the wrong reasons. We’re going to care more about what we believe about a person’s other beliefs than what they’re actually trying to do on the school board for kids,” said another member of Knox County’s school board, Daniel Watson.

Board chair Kristi Kristy wrote to WATE that her focus is on the students of Knox County Schools, finding the best superintendent and making sure students continue to improve academically.

Lt. Governor Randy McNally gave details about what was passed over the weekend. “It is a permissive legislation, but they will be partisan races. So the people will know the party that’s behind each and every candidate. Or if it’s an independent, they’ll know they’re an independent person,” McNally said.

The Chairman of Knox County’s Republican Party, Daniel Herrera, sent the following statement: “Once Governor Bill Lee signs the bill into law, I will immediately file a letter with the Knox County Board of Elections adding school board races to the upcoming Republican primary.”

His Democratic counterpart, the Chair of Knox County’s Democratic Party, Matt Shears, also provided a statement, which reads in part: “My plan is to discuss our options with KCDP’s Board and our current elected officials, including the School Board Members who identify as Democrats. Then we will make a decision collectively as the party—not a unilateral decision from me.”