We’ve all heard the slogans “Your Vote. Your Voice” and “Don’t Vote? Don’t Complain.” Here’s my slogan: Early Voting Started Monday—VOTE!

I can’t help but bring up another slogan: No Excuses.

1. You’re too busy? No excuses. Early Voting lasts eight days, including this Saturday. And you actually have nine days to vote because if you miss Early Voting, you can cast your ballot on Election Day.

2. You don’t get out of work until 6:00? No excuses. If you plan to vote in both the McAllen city and school district races, polls are open next Tuesday, May 2, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Election Day, the polls are also open 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

3. You work in the middle of McAllen and the north and south locations are too far? No excuses. In McAllen, the Early Voting locations are Lark Community Center in North McAllen, Fireman’s Park (Business 83 and 1st Street) in Mid-McAllen, and Palm View Community Center in South McAllen. During Early Voting, you can vote at any of these locations, regardless of where you live.

Election Day, you have to vote according to the precinct in which you live:

a. Precincts 62, 73, 96, 160, 199 206, and 224--vote at Gonzalez Elementary.

b. Precincts 65, 72, 81, 129, 200, and 207--vote at Lark Community Center.

c. Precincts 49, 97, 161, and 216--vote at Lincoln Middle School.

d. Precincts 47, 48, 95, and 149--vote at Palm View Community Center.

e. Precincts 26, 27, 37, 66, 67, 134, 138, 139, 162, 163, and 168--vote at McAllen High School.

d. Precincts 7, 8, 34, 35, 124, 135, and 136--vote at Fields Elementary School.

Your precinct number can be found on your voter registration card. If you do not know where your card is, visit the Elections Department’s website at

https://tx-hidalgocounty.civicplus.com/index.aspx?nid=105 On this site, you can choose “Your Election Day Polling Location,” and by submitting your name and birth year, it will provide you with your precinct number. You can also find information on valid forms of ID and all kinds of other voting-related information. (You can call the Elections Department at 956-318-2570.)

I am a strong advocate of voting in all elections. While I urge you to vote in our city races, because this is a weekly education column, I am going to focus on the school board election. School board elections are incredibly important as the individuals we put in office are responsible for OVERSEEING the management of the school district. They have overstepped their responsibility if they try to manage the district, as that is the superintendent’s job. But they must carefully oversee the work of the superintendent in all areas of the district, from curricula to human resources to school/district climate to finances and everything in between.

Please educate yourselves on the school board candidates before going to vote. Remember, this is not an election for Homecoming king and queen. This is much more crucial to our district and to our community than that. If you missed the Futuro McAllen School Board Forum, you can go to YouTube and type in “McAllen ISD Board Trustee Elections Forum” to view the unedited tape of the entire forum. As you prepare to vote, consider finding out where the candidates stand on these questions/issues (and others) that arose during this election cycle:

1. What ideas do you have for repairing and updating MISD facilities without a bond? (Keep in mind, this is actually the job of the superintendent and his staff; however, the board plays an important role in overseeing the plans.)

2. What should the district do about the loss of MISD students to charter and private schools?

3. Is employee morale an issue, and, if so, what can be done to fix it?

4. Is it important to have a female on the board?

5. Do you support the IB (International Baccalaureate) program in MISD?

6. Why should voters vote for you?

There may be several other things you want to know about the candidates, but this is a good start. Read the Voter’s Guides from the Valley Town Crier and The Monitor. Watch the forum. Contact the candidates. An informed voter is always the best voter.

VOTE! (Thank you!)

Chris Ardis retired in May of 2013 following a 29-year teaching career. She now helps companies with business communications and social media and works as a sales coordinator for Tony Roma's and Macaroni Grill. Chris can be reached at cardis1022@aol.com.