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Add school Elections to the lisst

By Staff | Jun 2, 2008

If the presidential and local elections don’t interest you in November, then perhaps a slate of school board candidates will.

This will be the first time Blue Earth Area School District has held an even-year election. In April 2007, boardmembers approved the change on a 6-1 vote.

“The biggest thing is we will not have to hire election judges. It will save a lot of time for our people,” says Superintendent Dale Brandsoy.

A bill passed in this year’s legislative session and signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty does not require districts to hold a primary election in September.

At their July meeting, says Brandsoy, the board probably will approve publishing of a “notice of filing dates.”

Three seats will be up for election this year. Chairman Frankie Bly, boardmembers Dawn Fellows and Elizabeth Wohlenhaus-Johanson will have to decide whether they will seek another four-year term. All three seats are elected at-large.

Brandsoy says the first day to file will be Aug. 26 and will last for two weeks.

Filing will take place at the district office and there is a $2 fee.

As a result of the change, terms of those currently serving on the board had to be extended for one year.

Faribault County Auditor John Thompson says no additional workers will have to be hired and the impact of the school elections to his office is minimal.

“They will still be responsible to collect the filings and certify those names,” says Thompson.

Cost-savings and federal laws adding to the complexity of elections were two reasons for the district changing its election year.

School officials estimate the cost of holding an election is about $2,500, and that does not include staff preparation time.

According to state law, the county has the authority to charge the district for any work the local auditor’s office does.

“The cost will probably be around $500,” says Thompson.

Names of the candidates will be listed with others appearing on the general election ballot in other races. They probably will be listed, says Thompson, after those running in the city elections.

BEA wasn’t alone in changing its election year.

Greg Abbott of the Minnesota School Boards Association says “a wave of districts” last year decided to switch to even years.

“Of the state’s 341 districts only 87 are still odd-year. By 2010, that will be down to 65,” says Abbott.