Chelsea School District phasing in six-year board terms by 2016
The Chelsea Board of Education has started drafting a policy to accommodate six-year board terms.
A first reading of the policy was conducted at Tuesday’s regular board meeting. A second reading will be Feb. 27, and the policy will be up for a vote at that time.
In January, the board unanimously approved, 7-0, moving to six-year terms from four-year terms, with the process to be developed by Chelsea’s Policy Committee.
Trustees up for re-election in November still will run for four-year terms, according to a draft of the new policy. The six-year terms will be phased in throughout the next four years.
During the 2014 general election, two members serving four-year terms and two members serving six-year terms will be elected. Then in 2016, all four members will be elected to six-year terms.
Ann Arbor Public Schools also recently debated the merits of switching its term lengths. However, AAPS let the issue die on the table by taking no action on the subject.
Ann Arbor board members generally agreed six-years was too long for the current economic climate and might discourage people from running.
"How many people even know where they will be living in six years?" said Trustee Irene Patalan, adding job loss and unemployment still causes the district to lose a number of families.
“I think the consensus is a four-year term serves our community best,” said Board President Deb Mexicotte at the Feb. 8 meeting. “I think the toll (board service) takes on family life — I really don’t want to make the bar any higher for service than it already is perceived and than it already is.”
The term-length discussions are the result of a new election law passed by the Michigan Legislature in the fall that set school board elections for public institutions as the first Tuesday in November of even-numbered years.