by Sam Hieb
After striking a deal with House Republicans, Sen. Trudy Wade’s bill making Guilford County Board of Education elections partisan is now law. The Senate voted 30-14 late last night, with the House voting 63-37 this morning. Gov. McCrory does not have to sign local bills.
At issue were the length of terms –Wade wanted two-year terms —and whether or not the shift would be put to voters in a referendum. As part of the deal, four-year terms —except in the 2014 election, in order to set up district realignment and reduction in board members from 11 to 9 — — will remain in place, but the referendum was dropped.
As long we’re drawing comparisons to other local election bills —- as the N&R’s Dog Clark does— remember the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education was made nonpartisan —without a referendum —- when the grassroots group CHANGE decided they’d had enough of the evil Republicans being in charge. The fact that all the incumbents who ran in the first nonpartisan race were reelected shows that the majority of citizens were happy with the board as it was.
WSFCS board elections are now partisan again, thanks to the legislature. But uring the push to make the board nonpartisan, CHANGE said the shift would encourage more candidates to run. That’s the same argument for making the GCS board partisan. That’s a valid argument following the 2012 election, when only two out of six seats on the ballot were contested.