The board wasted no time in moving forward toward board seats free of political parties following a consensus to do so at its previous meeting on Feb. 4.
“I agree we need to take action tonight,” said District 1 Board Member Carol Lindstrom, the newest board member who took office Jan. 1.
School board Chairwoman Janet Kelley said that it was the board’s intention to “get this passed this year, which is a non-election year.”
She added, “I have heard nothing but positive comments from the handful of citizens who have contacted me. I have not heard anything negative.”
The only Democrat on the board, D.T. Jackson, commented, “I’m very passionate about it because I don’t represent Democratic kids, Republican kids or Libertarian kids.”
The resolution was to be submitted to the Douglas County legislative delegation by Douglas County School Superintendent Gordon Pritz last week, where the members of the delegation would sign off on the measure.
Once approved by the delegation, the resolution would be passed on as a bill to the Georgia General Assembly for passage.
The idea for nonpartisan consideration by the board members was brought forward by citizen advocate Richard Segal on Jan. 7.
He said his research found that currently 104 of the 180 Georgia public school systems, or 58 percent, have board members elected in nonpartisan votes.
He cited the Georgia PTA, which said in its legislative position statement that “the citizens of Georgia should elect members of local boards of education by nonpartisan ballot.”
The Georgia School Board Association also has pushed for nonpartisan election of school board members as part of its 2013 legislative priorities.
Segal told the board, “Having a partisan school board does not benefit the approximately 24,500 students in this school system.
“It doesn’t even benefit those who have been elected to the board. Having a partisan school board only benefits the political parties.”
In other business, the board received its first finance report from new Chief Financial Officer Greg Denny, who had completed his first day with Douglas County. Denney had served in the same position with Carroll County Schools prior to accepting the position with the Douglas County School System.