Ray Pinney over at New Jersey School Boards Association alerts us to a new bill posted earlier this week by Assemblyman Lou Greenwald. The bill, A 4360, proposes a procedure that would allow local school districts to move their annual school elections to the day of the general election in November.
In order to move the election, the School Board has to adopt a resolution backed by a majority of the Board or at least 15% of voters in the district have to sign a petition. And here’s the kicker: a district that moves its election to November could bypass the school budget vote as long as it stays within the 2% cap. School board members elected in November would take office at the beginning of January.
Once a board has moved its election to November, it has to leave it there for at least 4 years. (The 4-year commitment, which may deter many boards from taking the risk of a November vote, is necessary in order to avoid a situation where one year new members are sworn in in April and the next year in January. )
Interesting bill. The State Legislature has pondered for years whether to move school board elections to November when people actually vote. NJEA and NJSBA have generally opposed such a move, arguing that a November election absorbs far more partisan rancor than a mild April poll. Assemblyman Greenwald’s bill gives everyone a choice, with a powerful incentive to avoid the enormously time-consuming marketing of school budgets that occurs every year.
This lame duck session is getting more and more interesting.