School board discusses adding a 7th member

Published 9:56 am Thursday, May 19, 2016

Issue could be put on the ballot this November

The Albert Lea School Board Monday discussed whether to request an election ballot measure to add a seventh board member.

No action was taken on the discussion; board members discussed the pros and cons of the proposal.

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Jill Marin said adding a member would require less of a majority vote to pass items, while Chairman Mark Ciota said the board is presently the only local board he is aware of that requires a supermajority to pass items.

School Board member Dave Klatt said though he has not formed an opinion about adding a seventh board member, he thinks the issue should be looked at, noting the board should make a decision by early July.

The issue could come before voters in November.

Mark Coita

Mark Ciota

Klatt said he was surprised when he was first elected that there was an even number of board members, noting with seven members it would be possible to have a 4-3 vote.

The board addressed adding a board member last year, but did not take action on it because of the cost that would have been incurred in a special election year, Klatt said.

He noted if a seventh board member is allowed, he would rather have less than half of the board members on the ballot in an election, and said if approved, the change would first take effect when board members Klatt, Ciota and Jill Marin are up for re-election in 2018.

Superintendent Mike Funk said Albert Lea is the only district in the Big Nine Conference without a seven-member board, noting some board members have expressed interest in adding another member. He said the board must pass a resolution calling for the voters to approve the seventh member by Aug. 26.

He said if the board passes the resolution and it is approved by voters, the seat would be added to the 2018 November election.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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