Thursday, February 17, 2011

Charter Commission to consider changing the way school board members are elected

I received word today that the Charter Commission will be considering a proposal to change the way Concord School Board members are elected.
The next meet will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at Dewey School.
The proposal, forwarded by former Concord Mayor Mike Donovan, would have board members elected in a similar fashion that the charter commission was elected. Instead of having all nine members elected at-large, three of the nine members would be elected at-large. Another six members would be elected from wards (two members from Ward 1,2,3,4; two from Ward 4,5,6; and two from Ward 8,9,10).
This proposal is much different than one forwarded by state Rep. Steve Shurtleff, written about here: ["Rep. Shurtleff's School Board plan"] and here:["The case for ward representation on the school board?"].
And, frankly, this proposal is much more acceptable than Shurtleff's. Having a combination of at-large and ward seats should widen the quality of the candidates who run for school board. The system would mirror the kind of representation that both the Concord City Council and the State House have. Both are much better than the school board. The accessibility of some of the seats would also be easier for candidates without a lot of money or powerful connections. Concord is a much bigger city than it was 50 years ago. While there have been fluke wins on the school board in the past, it is not the norm. Changing this process would be a big improvement.

If you are interested in being heard on this issue, show up to the hearing or email Betty Hoadley at


Anonymous said...

Better, but not perfect. You could still have 5 members elected from Ward 5 (and at large) for example, making up the majority.

Looks like Ward 4 gets double members the way you explain it.

Tony said...

Indeed, better, but not perfect.
The at-large folks can come from anywhere, that's true. As it stands now, there is the opportunity that all nine could come from a single Ward. With this plan, six of the nine members are guaranteed to be spread out throughout the community.