The bill would make three significant changes:
- School trustees would serve two-year terms, down from their current four-year terms.
- Trustees would have to declare a party affiliation—or their unaffiliated status.
- Trustee elections would move to November on even-numbered years, in conjunction with other partisan general elections. Currently, trustee races are held in November of odd-numbered years, in conjunction with nonpartisan municipal races.
Presenting his proposal to the House State Affairs Committee, bill sponsor Rep. Joe Alfieri did not mention the shift to even-numbered election years. He instead labeled the proposal “a fairly simple bill” that merely acknowledges the partisan nature of what are now nonpartisan trustee elections.
“This is a bill about transparency,” said Aflieri, R-Coeur d’Alene. “There are political parties involved in the election for school boards.”
After Alfieri’s brief presentation, his bill ran into a little bit of pushback.
Rep. Bruce Skaug, R-Nampa, said he saw value in some nonpartisan boards or organizations.
“Some people are not political at all, but want to serve on a school board,” Skaug said.
Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, suggested changing the bill’s wording to allow candidates to declare themselves as unaffiliated. Alfieri and the committee endorsed the wording—although Gannon said the change doesn’t erase his “strong reservations” about the bill.
With House State Affairs’ vote, the bill could come back to the committee for a full hearing at a later date. ￼
IdahoEdNews published this story on Feb. 15.
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