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Politics & Government

Constitutional Amendment to Change School Board Selection Process Advances

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Mathieu Thouvenin via Creative Commons

Utah lawmakers in a Senate Education Committee voted Friday to support a constitutional amendment that would make state school board elections unnecessary. 

Legislators are tasked this year with finding an alternative method of selecting members to serve on the state school board. That’s because a federal judge recently ruled the existing process violates the Utah constitution. Right now, the governor selects a committee that recruits and vets candidates to go on the election ballot. So here’s the latest alternative: Change Utah’s constitution to have the governor appoint the board instead of having voters decide.

“We never seem to be happy and we spend a lot of time on that issue,” says Republican Senator Ann Miller. She sponsored Senate Bill 195.

“I think this moves us in a different direction and it’s certainly the direction that many states have moved,” She says.

The proposal, which includes both SB 195 and Senate Joint Resolution 5 would require school-board candidates in the 2016 race to be subject to partisan races, and in the same election, ask voters to support a constitutional amendment to allow an appointed board moving forward.

The bill also shrinks the board from 15 members to 9.  

Lawmakers are also considering Senate Bill 104, which would make all state school board and some larger local school board elections partisan races. 

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