Saturday, February 4, 2017

Back to November for School Board Elections?

Tuesday's agenda for the Plainfield Board of Education includes a resolution to move the annual school board election back to November, coinciding with the general election. The resolution says the board believes the move will result in more citizen participation in the selection of board members..

See the Feb. 7 agenda here.

If approved, it will be the third move for the annual school board election, at which three members are elected for three-year terms.

The City Council initially moved the election from April to November at a tumultuous meeting in February 2012. The change could have been made by either the school board or council, and several board members objected strongly to the governing body making the change. Although the school board election is presumed to be nonpartisan, then-Council President Adrian O. Mapp  took heat from John Campbell, who masterminded elections that had produced a super-majority on the board.

John Campbell and Richard Wyatt joined the board as appointees before the last November election, where  they won full terms along with Emily Morgan, who had Mapp's support.

State law allowed for the election to be moved back to April after four years, and with Wilma Campbell presiding, the change was quietly made as a walk-on item at the school board's Nov. 10, 2015 work and study meeting

John Campbell, Wyatt and Morgan were sworn in on Jan. 5, 2016.

The change to April proved to be a gamble that Wilma Campbell, seeking her fifth term, lost. Despite the short time to put together a campaign, a slate backed by Mapp took all three seats.

 Mapp swore in the winners on May 3, 2016 and predicted a "synergy that has not existed for the past 30 months."

The initial election change to November gave incumbents an extra eight months of service, but the change back to April did the opposite. Changing back to November will extend terms that would have expired in May 2017.

If the resolution to change the school board election back to November passes Tuesday,  a previously announced filing date in March will become moot.


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