Legislator Wants to Expand School Boards With Non-Voting Members

Screenshot from Lya for Johnston Schools Facebook

There’s a proposal to expand the size of Iowa school boards.

Rep. Garrett Gobble (R-Ankeny) introduced a bill Tuesday that would place three non-voting members on the board to serve one-year terms.

The three non-voting members would consist of:

  • A student who is enrolled in the district
  • A parent/guardian with a child enrolled in the district
  • And a teacher who is employed by the school district.

Gobble is also a social studies teacher in the Ankeny School District. His bill comes at a time when state Republican officials are attempting a number of reforms to Iowa’s public education system under the guises of parental choice and transparency.

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Under Gobble’s proposal, interested parties would have to submit an application to the school board, which would then appoint the non-voting members.

If the student member is a minor, they would need parental/guardian consent. Additionally, the student member can’t have attended school in the district for less than a year before being appointed.

Should any of the three non-voting members be unable to fulfill their term, the position would remain vacant until the expiration of the term.

Here are the existing provisions to run for school board in Iowa as a voting member:

  • Be over the age of 18
  • Be an Iowa resident
  • Be an American citizen

This allows most Iowa residents, including high school seniors of age and parents/guardians, to run for functional school board seats if they live in the community they are trying to represent. Some school boards, including Ankeny, also have existing non-voting student representative programs.

The only automatic disqualifier to run for school board in Iowa or if a person has been convicted of a felony (unless their rights have been restored by executive order), they were judged incompetent to vote by the court, or they are registered to vote somewhere else.

There are also restrictions to prevent a person from joining a school board for personal financial gain.

 

by Ty Rushing
2/03/22

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