‘Yes’ to Term Limits for EBR School Board

‘Yes’ to Term Limits for EBR School Board

12 Years Should Be Enough for Member To Achieve Goals

by Woody Jenkins, Editor

BATON ROUGE — Proponents of educational reform have made a major push to change the way public education works in Louisiana.

Reforming local school boards has been an important part of that effort.  On Tuesday, Nov. 6, voters across the state will get to have their say on one of the proposed reforms — term limits for school board members.  At present, school board members can serve an unlimited number of four-year terms.

Sometimes that has worked out very well.  For example, Mr. T. H. Montgomery represented Central on the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board for 42 years — the longest serving school board member in state history.  He made an enormous contribution to public education over the years.

But, all too often, long-serving school board members accumulate too much power and exercise undue influence over personnel and policy decisions.

The purpose of term limits is to prevent the undue accumulation of political power in the hands of a few.  The answer, of course, is to vote the #@&%’s out of office.

The problem is that politicians find ways to ensconce themselves in office in ways that make it impossible to vote them out of office, precisely because they have accumulated so much power.  They may have gotten many of their supporters placed in the bureaucracy, creating a strong political force, or endeared themselves to government contractors who in turn fund their reelection campaigns.

In any case, voters within the boundaries of the East Baton Rouge Parish school system will have the opportunity to vote on term limits for EBR school board members on Tuesday.  Board members would be limited to three four-year terms.  Voters in Baker, Central, and Zachary will vote separately.  Here in Baton Rouge, term limits for EBR Board members seem like a very good idea indeed.

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