Price leads charge against Wade bill
With High Pointer Ed Price in the lead, the Guilford County Board of Education took a hard stance Thursday against a State Senate bill that would change school board elections in 2014.
On Price’s motion, the board voted unanimously to oppose Senate Bill 317, in which Sen. Trudy Wade, R-Guilford, proposes making the races partisan, cutting terms from four years to two, and redrawing district lines.
Price said voters should decide the issue, not legislators in Raleigh. Partisan races may not be best for the school board, he added. SB 317 would make school board elections partisan starting in 2014 and biannually thereafter.
“Let the people vote. If they want us to have one-year terms, six-month terms, prison terms, I don’t care,” Price said. “This could be a done deal in the Senate. I don’t know what the House will do.”
Price said the bill is motivated by politics because Republicans gained control of the legislature. Last year, the Republican-dominated legislature drew new county commissioner districts and reduced the size of the board without holding a public hearing in Guilford County.
“They want to change things around,” Price said. “I had hoped they would have taken the high road. Sometimes you have to do what is best for the people over what is best for the party. But both parities have been guilty in doing this.”
Last week, Wade said she proposed the bill to better align the districts with the new county commissioner districts and give residents the chance to have more input and choices. Partisan elections tend to turn out more voters, Wade said, and in the 2012 school board elections, five of six seats were uncontested.
Elections: SB 317 puts High Point in three school board districts instead of two. If approved, the districts will take effect in 2016.
In the 2012 redistricting, the General Assembly reduced the number of commissioners to nine from 11. Until then, the districts for both boards overlapped.