Gov. Dayton signs bill to improve South St. Paul school board

Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill into law May 9 to allow South St Paul schools to change the structure of their school board elections.

The bill, requested by South St Paul Public Schools and authored by Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St Paul, will allow elections to take place on an at-large basis, rather than through specific wards, according to a release. The bill passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 127-1, and in the Senate by a vote of 58-0.

“This bill addresses the concerns of the school district and community by allowing school board elections to be held on an at-large basis,” said Hansen in a statement. “School officials and community members did an excellent job making their case to lawmakers at the Capitol and they should be proud of the work they’ve done.”

The school district is unique. When the district was formed, the school board was structured by ward, where each member of the school board would represent a single ward that included a single school.

Over time, the makeup of the school district changed significantly, making the school board structure obsolete.

Among other reasons, South St Paul Public Schools requested this bill, because the district often has candidates running unopposed or has board members seats filled through appointment and an all at-large election system would be more cost effective.

 

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