By: Suzie Glassman/NewsBreak Denver
(Castle Rock, CO) Douglas County school board director David Ray asked his fellow board members to consider revising the district’s governance policy to require a two-thirds majority vote on any new board policies or revisions to existing ones.
“The top reason people say they won’t vote for an MLO/bond is around trust,” said Ray, who is part of the board minority. “I think that one of the things that people are most concerned about is this power shift where we have four vs. three directors.”
“We are supposed to be nonpartisan. If we create or revise policy based on a simple majority, we’re probably not doing what’s best for the system. Policies have a tremendous impact.”
Policies like GBEB, which prohibits arming teachers, could easily be changed by a simple majority.
Ray believes upping the bar to pass policy changes would alleviate fears and encourage more people to support the MLO and bond measure.
Ray pointed to instances where a two-thirds majority is already required, like voting to go into an executive session, ending debate or discussion on an agenda item, and suspending operational rules.
“I believe changing policy is just as significant as these actions requiring a two-thirds majority vote,” said Ray. “When we work together, the power of our ability to effectively lead this district is second to none because we have diverse views.”
“I want us to be a board that’s focused on the most important work – working with students.”
Ray asked that the board discuss his suggestions at the Sept. 27 meeting to reassure voters who are “on the fence” regarding the MLO and bond because they don’t trust how the board will manage the money.
In an article on the AASA, The School’s Superintendent Association, Donald R. McAdams says that “issues that divide a board call out for a supermajority.”
“Why,” he asks. “Because simple majority support indicates the issue is not yet dead. The board may have voted, but opponents are likely to keep fighting, hoping the district will drag out implementation, the board will reconsider the vote, or the next election will flip the board.
A unanimous or even supermajority vote sends the opposite message: The issue is settled once and for all. It is time for everyone to move on.”
Ray said that the board votes on all other issues would remain a simple majority.