State Law Forces School Board Election Changes, Term Extensions in Dearborn

The Michigan Legislature’s move to prohibit school board elections in odd-numbered years means three Dearborn Schools trustees will get a term extension.

A new provision recently signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder prompted the Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education to increase the terms of three elected trustees, and convert all school board terms from four-years to six years.

The new law requires all school boards to hold elections only in even-numbered years, and in November. Unlike other school districts, which typically hold elections in May, Dearborn Schools trustees have always been elected in November.

Dave Mustonen, the district’s spokesman, said the change was prompted by the new law.

“This will bring them in compliance with the new law," he said, "and will also bring them in compliance with another measure which says that if a P-14 board also serves as the board of a community college, they must serve 6-year terms.”

The Dearborn School Board is the only board in the state that also serves as the board of a college–in this case, , said Mustonen.

The three trustees that will receive term extensions include Roxanne McDonald and Joseph Guido, each of whom were elected in November. Both trustees will receive a 1-year extension, which means their terms will expire in 2016 instead of 2015. Trustees Pam Adams and Hussein Berry’s terms will be extended one year, and will now end in 2014 instead of 2013. The remaining board members–Aimee Blackburn, Mary Lane and James Schoolmaster will run for 6-year terms when their current 4-year terms expire.

The new law was enacted to save local municipal governments money, and also to save costs associated with administering elections at the state level, Cindy Galea, the elections supervisor for the city, said the city and community will realize a benefit from new law.

“There could possibly be more turnout when elections are consolidated,” she said. “Right now, if it’s only the school board, the turnout is very low. Also, it’s possible we could not have an election every four years, unless a ballot initiative comes up.”

Galea said that school board elections typically attract 8,000 to 10,000 of Dearborn’s roughly 60,000 registered voters.

Trustee Current Term Expires Election Date

New 6-Year Term Expires

Mary Lane 12/31/2012 November 2012 12/31/2018 Aimee Blackburn 12/31/2012 November 2012 12/31/2018 Pamela Adams 12/31/2013 November 2014 12/31/2020 Hussein Berry 12/31/2013 November 2014 12/31/2020 James Schoolmaster 12/31/2014 November 2014 12/31/2020 Joe Guido 12/31/2015 November 2016 12/31/2022 Roxanne McDonald 12/31/2015 November 2016



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