School Board considers adding 7th member

Published 10:23 am Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Albert Lea School Board approved submitting a ballot question to add a seventh board member on November’s election ballot at Monday’s board meeting.

Approval came by a 4-2 vote. Board members Mark Ciota, Linda Laurie, Bill Leland and Dave Klatt voted yes. Julie Johnson and Jill Marin voted no.

Mark Coita

Mark Ciota

If approved by voters, the seat would be added to the 2018 November election.

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Ciota said the board should not form an opinion of adding a seventh board member, noting he thinks the issue is best left for the voters.

He said something great about adding a seventh board member would be the elimination of ties the board has faced in the past, but noted that some board members don’t think having a tie vote is a bad thing.

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.

Johnson said though she had no problem with the measure being on November’s ballot, she was concerned that there would be four board members up for election at a certain point, causing a problem with continuity and consistency.

Leland said the measure should be left to the public to decide, noting having the public vote on having a seventh board member is in response to requests for more of a voice. He said he was confused that Johnson and Marin voted against the measure because of their advocacy for the public to have more  of a voice in the board’s governing process.

The measure was discussed at a board meeting in May. At the meeting, Marin said adding a member would require less of a majority to pass items, while Ciota said the board is presently the only local board he is aware of that requires a supermajority to pass items.



About Sam Wilmes

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

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