Schools reminded of option for selecting election dates
DECEMBER 4, 2006
Deadline nears for 2007 changes
Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land reminds school districts that they have until Dec. 31 to change their 2007 election dates if they wish.
Michigan election law gives local school districts and community colleges the option of selecting a new election date if they currently fill elected positions at a time other than the odd-year November date.
"It's important that schools have flexibility," Land said. "Districts can look ahead to the upcoming budget year and decide whether they wish to move their election in an effort to save taxpayer dollars."
School districts have various options that will substantially reduce the cost of their elections. For example, schools can move to biennial elections which essentially will cut their election costs in half. They can also choose an election date that coincides with other local elections to significantly reduce costs. Traditionally, school elections have garnered less than a 10 percent voter turnout.
Districts can choose to elect board members on:
- The odd-year May date
- The odd-year November date
- The even-year November date
- The annual November date
Changes will take effect the following January. That means if districts want their modifications in place for 2007, they must decide by the end of this year. Otherwise the changes won't take effect until 2008.
Local school boards must conduct at least one public hearing prior to making any adjustments, Land said. Changes are filed with the Secretary of State.
While this reminder focuses on school board elections, districts still have the option of putting bond and millage issues on the ballot on any of the four consolidated election dates in February, May, August and November. There is also a "floater" date that can be used in certain circumstances.
A Department of State study shows between Jan. 1, 2005, and Dec. 1, 2006, 10 districts held these special elections. Of the 12 proposals presented, six passed and six failed. The highest turnout was recorded in the Whitefish Township School election of September 2005, with 62 percent of registered voters casting a ballot. The lowest turnout came in the Madison School District in Adrian in September 2006. That election brought out 6.3 percent of registered voters.
> The report is available for viewing at www.Michigan.gov/sos