Press-Republican

Education

December 27, 2013

P'burgh City School Board considers shorter terms

PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh City School Board is considering a public referendum to reduce term lengths for future members.

The notion of changing terms from five years to three was first raised by City School Board Vice President Tracy Rotz, who recently noted district residents’ reluctance to sit on the board due to the lengthy commitment it involves.

“If a person chose to go for two terms on the board, that’s a decade of their time,” City School Superintendent James “Jake” Short told attendees of a recent board meeting.

On the other hand, Short said, five-year terms allow members more time to learn the nuances of the district and how business is conducted.

PUBLIC OK NEEDED

The board does not have the authority to change term lengths on its own but can opt to put the matter up for public vote and let district residents decide.

“I agree with the concept that it does take a little bit to get your feet wet and understanding everything,” Rotz said at the meeting.

“But I know I’ve had numerous conversations in the community with individuals that I think would be very good School Board members, and it always seems to boil down to the five-year term.”

The district, he noted, has also lost valuable board members in the past who were reluctant to commit to another five years of service.

SEAT ROTATIONS

When considering altering term lengths, Short said, it’s important to keep in mind how doing so might affect the rotation of open seats in the future.

“You wouldn’t want to create this change in the length of office and then inadvertently find a year where all of the board is being elected, and it’s all brand new, and then another year that nobody’s being elected, so you don’t have an even rotation,” he said.

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