PALMER — The Mat-Su Borough School Board did not make a decision at their meeting on Wednesday whether or not to implement term limits, minimum vote percentages or review the level of salary and benefits to school board members. Resolution 21-007 was presented to the school board and tabled until August where it will be brought back as a non-action item.
“I’m philosophically opposed to term limits. Term limits are determined by the voters,” said School Board Member Sarah Welton. “I believe the school board is one of those where if you’ve got an effective school board member that keeps getting elected, that that’s important. Of course I have had six terms so I’m a little prejudiced there.”
Resolution 21-007 would limit school board members to service of three consecutive three-year terms with a requirement of three years prior to becoming eligible to run for school board again. While no specific percentage was listed, the resolution would make school board election requirements in line with Mat-Su Borough requirements for a minimum percentage of votes to elect a school board member. The resolution would also allow the Mat-Su Borough Assembly to direct the Commission on Salaries and Emoluments to “review and advise the school board and assembly as to salary, benefits and allowances the commission deems appropriate for school board members.”
The Assembly would then approve or modify any commission determination prior to school board action. School Board Member Dwight Probasco supported splitting the ordinance up into separate issues if it were brought back before the school board as an action item.
“There are three distinct parts to this resolution and it is a non action item so we have through the summer to develop a proposal. We can either break it into two parts three parts we can accept it as a whole and move it as an action item in August but we have now that. Members have time to look at this and review it, then we have time to modify this come the beginning of August and go from there,” said School Board Member Tom Bergey.
School Board Member Jim Hart stated that he felt the board needed more public input on the matter. The motion to table the resolution until August passed 6-1 with only Welton voting in opposition.
“The voters are the people who determine the term limits and for most of the school boards I think in the state, not all of them I know, but I really do think that we ought to be reflecting on that and it took a petition to move us to districts. I think that’s still a thing that if you truly want term limits, that it should be a voter choice on that and not just a resolution of the board,” said Welton.
The Assembly recently moved to reestablish the board of Salaries and Emoluments to reconsider the compensation for the Borough Mayor. The school board will next meet on June 16.