Sunday, January 30, 2011

More Hard Decisions: Board Election Dates

I am grateful to the community's trust in me as an elected official. It's a strange concept- I rarely think of myself in terms of being an "elected official", except perhaps when I get an official piece of correspondence.

The possible parcel tax election has made me keenly aware of the costs of running an election. For us to place a measure on the ballot can cost anywhere from ~$50K on up to $600K. The relative cost depends on how many other organizations are running an election that would coincide with ours, and therefore share in the printing and other costs.

Over the past several years, more and more agencies have moved their elections to even-numbered years, leaving fewer and fewer folks like LASD in the odd years. We recently were notified that the last agency with whom we share an election is also considering moving to the even years. That would leave LASD bearing the entire cost of running our own elections for our Board of Trustees.

At our upcoming board meetings, we'll consider a measure to move the election cycle for the Board to align with the rest of the community elections. This move would save the district $700,000 over the next 5 election cycles.

On one hand, I don't like the idea of elected officials changing the terms of their own service. It feels like the fox in the hen house. The reality for me, though, is that serving on the school board is a community service. There's no "power trip" in doing this. Saving $700K means preserving another teach for the better part of a decade.

There is a possible middle ground (vote to make the change, but make the change effective with the next election cycle. ) That would cost LASD roughly $300K to cover the existing board. That’s three full-time teachers. It’s an option, but it clearly has a price tag also.

When the City Council made this change, it rankled some people in our community. That's why I'm making the effort to post this commentary now, before we take any action. I'm interested in community input on this issue. If you feel strongly about whether the board should stick to the odd years and spend the extra money, please let me know. Likewise, if you think that we should move to the even years, I’d like to hear it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.