Committee passes bill to limit school board members’ terms, weeks after similar bill removed from agenda - AZEdNews
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Committee passes bill to limit school board members’ terms, weeks after similar bill removed from agenda

Irene Jones And Robert Candelaria

Update 3/1/21: The Committee of the Whole gave a due pass recommendation to House Bill 2435 as amended, which would impose term limits on school board members of two consecutive terms.

Update 2/22/21: House legislators may hear House Bill 2435 soon, which would impose term limits on school board members of two consecutive terms, requires a majority of members on school boards be parents, grandparents or guardians of a student currently enrolled in the district, and eliminates staggered terms so that all members of a school board would be elected concurrently.

The bill has some similarities to Senate Bill 1246, which would limit school board members terms, which was removed from the Senate Education Committee agenda last week. Read more below.

The Arizona School Boards Association opposes House Bill 2435, sponsored by Rep. Steve Kaiser, because it would create high turnover on school boards, impact people’s eligibility to serve as a school governing board member, reduce school board members’ institutional knowledge and impact stability of school boards’ governance.

“House Bill 2435 went through House government committee this past week, and it’s set hopefully to be not heard, but we don’t know. It’s ready to go to the floor in the House if they choose to pursue it,” said Chris Kotterman, director of governmental relations for Arizona School Boards Association.

“The bill as it was introduced would require that there be a functional majority of the boards, so either two members or three members depending on whether its a three-or five-member board, have to have children in the district either as parents, grandparents or guardians,” Kotterman said.

“It would also impose a two-term limit so a total of eight years on board members,” Kotterman said. “Finally, it would eliminate the stagger for board terms so that all board members would be up for election at the same time. And lastly, it would allow the use of electronic signatures for board members to get on petitions, but also for recall.”

#Legislative Legit: HB 2435 school board member term limits

Edited by Jacquelyn Gonzales/ AZEdNews

“The amendment that was proposed and accepted was originally the parents grandparent functional majority requirement, that was going to be imposed on school board members is now completely stricken from the bill so it’s no longer a prerequisite for you to be able to be on a board,” said Rico Yanez, governmental relations intern with Arizona School Boards Association.

“Electronic signatures being allowed to be used for recall purposes,” said Sarah Jedlowski, governmental relations intern with Arizona School Boards Association.

“It does also allow school board members to use electronic platform also known as EQual to gather signatures to get on the ballot, which we’re totally in support of, but then it also allows electronic gathering for recall elections as well,” said Leigh Jensen, governmental associate with Arizona School Boards Association.

“Over all, not a great bill. Only one provision that we support, with a whole bunch that we think are problematic, because we think that it would just basically undermine leadership, continuity in school boards and also in school districts as a result, possibly result in higher superintendent turnover, and also continue the problems that we have now for getting enough candidates for governing board.” Kotterman said.

“Overall, we don’t think it’s a great tool for effective board governance, and we are opposed,” Kotterman said.

Original story: The Senate Education Committee took a bill off their agenda Monday evening that would have limited school board members’ terms.

Committee passes bill to limit school board members’ terms, weeks after similar bill removed from agenda Sean-BOWIE-200-
Sen. Sean Bowie

Senate Bill 1246, sponsored by Sen. Sean Bowie, would limit school board members to serving just two consecutive terms on the governing board of an Arizona school district.

Arizona Schools Boards Association is opposed to this bill, said Chris Kotterman, director of governmental relations for the Phoenix-based nonprofit that serves school governing board members throughout the state.

The bill “has the unfortunate impact of limiting school board members to two four-year terms in office after which they’d be ineligible to run again,” Kotterman said.

“We are concerned about this bill, and ASBA will be opposing it, because we don’t have a whole lot of extra school board candidates in the state,” Kotterman said.

“We believe that it will have the negative impact of shrinking the pool for available school board candidates,” Kotterman said.

#Legislative Legit: SB 1246 would limit school board member terms

Video edited by Jacquelyn Gonzales/ AZEdNews

Arizona currently has 63 open governing board seats and for the past two years 263 people have been appointed to serve as school board members by county superintendents of schools, said Rico Yanez, ASBA governmental relations intern.

“We don’t currently have a lot of people interested in running for  school board as of right now, and this would hurt that even further,” Yanez said.

“High turnover rates are super detrimental to stability, and as we all know, stability it super important especially among rural communities and small communities,” said Sarah Jedlowski, ASBA governmental relations intern.

“At a time when there are high appointments, it’s not great to be throwing so many new people into these or enacting term limits,” said Jedlowski said.

“We’ve seen a couple of these term limit bills introduced this year and we haven’t given them any screen time yet,” said Leigh Jensen, ASBA governmental relations associate.

“This one is actually on the agenda on Tuesday in the Senate education committee, so we’re letting you know now so if you guys have a Request To Speak account and you want to sign in to weigh in on that, we’d really appreciate it,” Jensen said.

Click here for the Arizona Legislature’s Request to Speak service