John M. Young109 Cypress Dr.Newark, DE 19713June 8, 2012Hon. Representative Edward OsienskiHouse of RepresentativeLegislative HallDover, DEDear Representative Osienski:I am writing to ask you to oppose HB 360. This bill will soon come to a vote in the DelawareHouse of Representatives.The purpose of this bill is to move School Board Member elections to the November GeneralElection cycle and shorten terms from five to four years. It proposes cost savings, but fails toidentify solutions for newly created problems. My opposition is based on the following concerns:
The establishment of school board elections during the general election puts the schoolboard elections in a political arena.
Even if the names are not included in the partisan lists, the elections willbecome a part of the partisan political process.
This bill creates a biennial election process
whereby a quorum of most boards are upfor election one general election
and an almost quorum of the board is up for election inthe next general election.
The exception to this is in Milford (8 members) and Indian River (10members) where a quorum of these boards will be up for election each of thetwo general elections during the 4 year terms, creating opportunity for evenmore instability.
changes the start date of office from July to January. This is particularlyproblematic for the school districts.
The leadership team of a school district set the goals for the year, according tothe strategic plan, for the superintendent and the district in July. This timeline ispart of DPAS II regulations. To potentially change a majority of a board in themiddle of the year is potentially disruptive to this required process.
ms could set policy and agenda absent newly elected members’ voices.
The budget year begins in July. The final budgets are not known until after theState Budget is passed on June 30
and the September 30
count is finalized bythe Delaware Department of Education. With a possible quorum of the boardschanging in January, this could create budgetary conflicts in the districts, whichcould lead to higher costs.
Also, lame duck quorums will be placed in a votingposition on mandatory budget submissions to the DOE
Administrator contracts begin on July 1
. However, the approval of the renewalof those contracts is done in December
. A lame duck quorum could be placedin the conflicted position of voting on contracts that will be honored aftertheir departure while newly elected members are disenfranchised. State Lawgoverns administrator renewal timelines.