The Oswego School District 308 board voted Monday night to put a measure on the April ballot that will allow residents to vote to move the electoral system to an at-large system.
Currently the District requires a minimum of two unincorporated members to be seated on the school board that consists of seven members. The two unincorporated members on the board now are Alison Swanson and Laurie Pasteris, although Pasteris’ term expires in April.
Going forward, school attorney Maureen Lemon said based on population shifts there may be a time in the near future when of the current ballot formats would fit District 308.
Under the current system if no one from an unincorporated area runs for a seat, the seat will remain vacant following the election until the board appoints an unincorporated resident to the seat. The same idea applies to if only one unincorporated resident runs for the seat in that they are automatically appointed.
President Bill Walsh said that if the referendum as approved it would not go into affect until the 2015 election.
Walsh supported the measure going to referendum. “[Voters] can share their thoughts on how we should move forward.”
Board member Mike Scarmuzzi was also in favor of putting the at-large option to a vote, saying that he felt the law was not meant to let a seat go vacant because the unincorporated requirements were not met.
The only board member who was opposed to offering the option to eliminate mandatory unincorporated seats was Laure Pasteris. “I think there should be representation from an unincorporated area. We do have different needs that I feel should be represented.”
The board vote 6-1 with Pasteris casting the only against vote for putting the measure on the April ballot.
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