(Lansing, MI) – State Senator Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) and State Representative Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth) have formally requested a hearing in the Senate Committee on Local Government and Elections on legislation they introduced that would consolidate school board member elections to coincide with the November general election. The school districts would still be free to hold millage elections on other dates at their own discretion.
The legislators sent a formal request to the chair of the committee where the bills are currently assigned asking for Senate Bills 426-427 (Colbeck) and House Bills 4005-4006 (Heise) to be given a hearing. The bills are double bluebacks – identical language introduced in both chambers of the Legislature.
“There are many reasons I support the concept of consolidated elections, chief among them being the savings to our school districts,” Senator Colbeck said. “This is funding that can be redirected to our classrooms.”
“This is common-sense legislation that will save money, increase voter turnout, and provide more information on school board candidates," said Representative Heise. "It puts more money in the classroom and improves efficiency."
School districts will see a cost savings from this legislation. It has been estimated by the Senate Fiscal Agency that by “piggybacking” school elections onto the general election in November, school districts across the state will save up to $7 million annually.
The House Fiscal Agency projects that current school board elections cost between $25,000 and $50,000 for a stand-alone election and $5,000 to $10,000 when added on to an existing millage election. By requiring school board elections to be held at the same time as the general election in November, we eliminate the need for the school districts to hold additional elections and incur additional costs.
Additionally, turnout for the November elections is consistently higher than school elections in February or May. Moving the school board elections to November will mean higher voter participation in electing school board members.