A bill introduced Wednesday in the state Senate would change the way Wake County school board members are elected, including postponing this fall’s elections and shortening the terms of several board members.
The bill, S325, would redraw the boundaries for the nine current school board districts, creating two districts that each represent half the county with the other seven districts having new borders. The bill would move elections to even-numbered years, extending by a year the terms of four board members whose seats expire this year and shortening a year the terms of five board members whose seats aren’t supposed to expire to 2015.
The bill is sponsored by Sen. Neal Hunt, a Raleigh Republican, and Chad Barefoot, a Wake Forest Republican.
It’s not the same as the legislation requested by the Republican majority on the Wake County Board of Commissioners. They had wanted to make four of the school boards seats countywide at-large races. Currently, people can only vote for the seat in their district.
Under the new bill, all nine board seats would be on the ballot in 2014. Seven members would be elected to four-year terms. The two new super districts would hold elections for two-year terms with the races being on the ballot in 2016 for four-year terms.
This change means that five Democratic board members who were elected in 2011 to four-year terms that would have ensured them a majority through 2015 would only have three-year terms. This means the four board members whose terms would expire in November, including Republicans John Tedesco and Deborah Prickett would get an extra year to have a five-year term.
The new boundaries for the seven smaller districts are set in the bill instead of being set by the school board.
The bill would apparently let people vote for two of the nine board seats. The elections would coincide with the May primaries, not the fall general elections with members taking office the first Monday in July or after the the runoff that's typically held in July.