State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) has received wide, bipartisan House support for legislation that eases the process for school districts to fill vacancies on boards of education when no one from the school district has expressed an interest in serving.
According to Reick, some school districts find it difficult to fill positions on their boards of education. Currently, when no one steps up to serve, the board members appoint an individual to fill a vacancy. SB 2900 provides school districts with an additional tool to ensure school board positions are filled. “Especially in rural districts, this is often a significant problem,” said Reick. “Given the impact on tax bills that are tied to school district operations, it has become necessary for the General Assembly to step in and help ensure these boards are operating with full membership.”
Through SB 2900, if a school board is forced to fill a vacancy due to a lack of available candidates, the board would then, by resolution, submit a referendum question to voters at the next general election that would allow for the at-large election of a board member from within the boundaries of the school district.
“Obviously, the best scenario is for school boards to be comprised entirely by individuals who meet the residency requirements for the office,” Reick said. “But in the instances when that is not possible, this bill provides a valuable tool to help fill vacancies.”
SB 2900 received unanimous approval in the Senate in April, and now moves to Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk for his signature.