Monday, March 12, 2012

We Are the 3%!

Only the Everett School District and Spokane and Tacoma have 6 year terms of service for their school board directors. The rest of the districts (97%) in the state have their school board directors only serve 4 years.  That makes a lot more sense to me.  Think of it, if someone gets elected for their first term when their child enters Kindergarten, they will not face another election (or have to be accountable to the public) until their child enters Middle School and if they win the second term, their child will be a Senior in High School by the time they are up for re-election again.

What does that do?  It allows cronyism and alliances to develop that are often not good for the students and tax payers.  It also limits the number of new faces that show up on the boards.  That helps keep district alliances all safe and sound and keeps the board from changing too drastically and rocking their boat if they have a good thing going.

But, it also limits the public's ability to enact change if they are unhappy with the current direction of the board.  Recalling a School Director is next to impossible.  It has to be for a specific violation of the law and approved by a judge and if you get that far, you'll have to collect thousands of signatures.  

Per Washington State law, school board elections can only be held in odd-numbered years.  We replaced one director last year and we are already starting to see her align herself with the others.  We will not have another opportunity to change the faces on the board until the Fall of 2013.  At that time, two will be up for re-election.  Meanwhile, it's business as usual because they are in control.

But, unfortunately, like Congressional Term Limits, the only mechanism to change the term of service is by a vote of the board itself.  And with the faces on it right now, I can pretty much guarantee you that it would be 5-1.  Director Jessica Olson approached that subject after her own election in 2009 and was told that it wasn't an option.  She was told something like, "It takes time to get into the workings of the board.  Six years is necessary."  Um, hello, the President only serves for 4 years.  What makes a piddly little school board so special?  But, the translation of that, in my opinion, is that changing too often is dangerous to the little world that's been built.  Perish the thought that the board had to be 33% MORE accountable to the public in an election.  Currently, if you serve 2 6-year terms, the board is only accountable to the public twice.  In the same time period but of 4 year terms, they would have to be accountable to the public THREE times.  How can that not be a good thing?  If you are serving well, you should not be afraid of the public.  But, that's not how we roll around here.

So, PLEASE take this quick survey (and I mean QUICK).  Do you think that the Everett School District School Board should use their power to limit their term of service to be more in line with the other 97% of school districts in the state, or do we feel entitled to be part of the elite 3% who somehow feel we need to serve 50% longer? 

Click here to take survey