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School elections to be held in November

Board members’ terms extended to 6 years

The Cedar Springs Board of Education approved changes in their board policy last week that brings them in compliance with a new state law regarding when elections are held. They also extended the number of years board members will serve to six years.

Under the new Michigan state law, school districts must hold elections during the general elections in November of even-numbered years beginning January 1, 2012. Board elections have previously been held in May of each of year.

“Utilizing a standard election cycle will cut administrative costs and help schools maintain focus on educating students,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “This change allows for more consolidated elections so voters have the best opportunity to make their voices heard.”

It will also be a cost savings for districts. In the past, school districts were billed by the municipalities for holding the election. But, according to Cedar Springs City Clerk Linda Branyan, that should no longer be the case. “It’s my understanding that if an election is already being held (in this case a general election), then the municipality absorbs the cost,” she explained. “The only exception would be if something special had to be purchased for the election.”

Since 2004, districts have had the option of conducting school board elections during the odd-year general election, the odd-year May regular election, the November regular election in odd and even years, or the May regular election in even and odd years.

Under the new law, a board member’s term would begin January 1 following the election. To make that happen, Cedar Springs needed to vote to extend current members’ terms from June 30 to December 31. And because elections will only be held every two years, some board members will receive an extension of six months and others a year and a half. Tim Avery and Brook Nichols terms will now expire Dec. 31, 2012 instead of June 30; Matt Shoffner, Shannon Vanderhyde and Todd Hanson’s terms will expire Dec. 31, 2014. Hanson’s was set to expire in 2013.  Jeff Gust and Joseph Marckini’s terms were set to expire in June 2015, but will now expire December 31, 2016.

Besides amending their policy to change election dates, Cedar Springs Board of Education also voted to change future board members’ terms to 6 years, to avoid a 4-3 member rotation schedule. If they kept it at 4 years, 4 people would be up for reelection in 2016 and 3 people in 2018. A six-year schedule means only 2 or 3 people would be up for reelection at a time.

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