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House | March 26, 2015 | Committee Room | Elections Committee

Full MP3 Audio File

Martha Geterson and Joel Osteen and our pages today are [xx] Morgan [xx] and [xx] so welcome to the General Assembly and I know we're moving quickly here but we're on a quicktime. We do have a PCS to house bill 110 before us without objection we will hear the proposed committee substitute, representative West you're recognized to present your bill thank you Mr. Chairman, members of the committee what this bill does is it will add Cacky County and Rutherford county to the list of counties that have partisan school board elections, that's all it does and I will appreciate just forward. Now is it the committee representative Horizon. Thank you and thanks sir Mr. Wess for that but I don't want to stand this trend I realize that we have continued to add to the list of scrubbles that have personal issues but I don't I don't understand the trend and the folks back home did not like it when we force partisanship on [xx] county the school board the republicans and democrats alike and I guess one question is what's the rationale on this and the second one is what happens to someone who is running independent? Do they have to collect the ballot signatures to get on the ballot if it becomes a partisan election? questions. Representative Weiss. If it becomes a partisan election they will have to garnish the signatures to get on the ballot. The reason we're making it a partisan race in Jerkey County and I think we are on the same condition, we can't get anybody to file on either side for the school board and we think this might entice some people to get out on their own. Representative Cafin you are recognized. Thank you Mr. Chairman just a quick question and maybe you're eluded to it to your right, let's see may I ask does this come as a request of the school board or it was just your idea. Well, it was my idea I guess but I got the idea from some other people there to consider grounding but they didn't want to run until the partisan race Representative Barst. I would like at the appropriate time to move for a favorable report. Any further questions the comments from the committee? Seeing none, representative [xx] you're recognized. This isn't a PCS is it? This is a PCS. I move that the PCS be given a favorable report on favorable as is to the original bill. Members you've had the motion by representative Blessed all those in favor signify by saying I?  I. All oppose No?  No.  The I's have it, and the bill guess you're given a favorable report. Thank you Mr. Chairman, thank you members of the committee. This will go to representative Bur and we'll start with the PSC for house bill 111 without objection, the PCS is before us, representative Bur? Thank you Mr. Chairman, I am running this bill at the request of a lot of concerned citizens back on my community, parents, teachers, and students who are trying to make sure their voice is heard through a local school board, and this will give them that ability to express their concerns in a opinions about some of the school board's actions, and what this will require for an opportunity to recall under this legislation that after received 6000 or so signatures, to hold every called elections, and I can tell you that two other school systems in North Carolina already have this option about county and then chapel hill, city schools as well as number of local municipality. Certain;y we are happy to take any question but we would appreciate you support and giving my stand which kind of citizens avoid OK, questions from the committee representative Gill. Yes, I have two concerns, thank you, Mr. to you, one is the cost of if there`s an election, the cost of the election must be reimbursed by the school administrative unit, why are you putting that cost in the school unit when there is an election? Representative Bur because if there's a special elections held then and due to the fact of the school board and members being recalled or the opportunity of 6, 000 signatures, they would be held responsible for covering that cost, it various dependent on if it's held during another held during, held at a special election period. Follow up. Follow up. This is even if the school board members had nothing to do with the recall. Representative Burke. Well this recall is only for would only be for members of the school boards, so this is if we have 6, 000, 5.800 or so signatures in the county who, folks

that has to have a recall, then that would be put on the [xx] then it would be paid for to that measure. Someone has to pay for it. And obviously, if it's dealing with action taken by the school board, then, this is dealing with school board elections. to they will be responsible for those funds. F Ollow up. One more follow up. OK the person who is responsible for following the addidafit, are you saying that they must be a member of the school board in order for that to happen and then the school board will be responsible. Any citizen and the county could file a recall petition and get the process started it does not have to be a member of the school board and in terms of the concern about the cost also I certainly understand that and I can tell you today in Center County school board has come out with two plans to shut down schools and burst out kids all over the county at the objection of many parents including a number of our communities including the African-American communities whose is concerned about the one school that actually sits inside the city will be shut down and those kids will be burst out of the city and burst to either two or three high schools depending on what they shut down and the parents are concerned about that and the fact that they are going about this in such a there at such a fast pace and 25 that call for an election is certainly cheaper than it would be if they didn't have this option. They throw the members out of the school board in two years and they have to spend hundreds of thousands or millions to reopen the school and go to that process. They've shut other schools down in the past years and we're still spending tens of thousands of dollars to maintain those schools. This is simply giving the voters the option and many many folks have asked for and I can tell you we've had over 500 or so individuals attend the last two or three school board meetings. They've request that opportunity to speak to the school board as limited public comment to the first five people that come to sign up on whatever issue and allow three minutes of peace, they are not listening to the voters this has given the voters in my community the ability to voice their concerns today first is putting it off and have their children bust all over creation for another year or two and then having to write the wrong at that time Representative Fisher you're recognized. Thank you Mr. Chairman, while this is a question for the bill's sponsor.  While I can really sympathise with what the folks are going through in terms of bossing and closures of schools and the like what I'm wondering is if you, do you hold elections of school board members by the school LEA or by at the county board of elections? Representative Burr. Are you speaking in terms of their Districts or? Just their election, the elections as they are held now, are those run by the LEA or the county board of elections? There conducted by the county board of elections. Follow up. Follow up. Then would you be amenable to an amendment that would would transfer the cost of a recall election back to the board of elections, rather than having the LEA suffer the cost of a recall election? Representative Bur? One way or another it's going to be funded through the local level whether its coming through an appropriation of the county commission whether it's coming through the school this is, as its written today its just like it would be if it were municipal election, there responsible for paying for those elections. So its holding them to that same responsibility to fund the recall election.   Follow up. But I'm happy to discuss that with you as we move the voter forth that somebody or solution here, but for me I think this is the best solution, if they are creating the issue that is causing 5800 lead us to question, the need for them to stay on the school board, and I'm requesting that they be recalled, and certainly it seems that's the most appropriate group to fund that. Forward. I think my concern is that you would deplete LEA Fund and therefore have potentially harmed children just to send a message to the folks that he want to conduct

a recall and that's why I would say, let's move that recall back to the place where all citizens are inputing into the county tax base, and instead of hurting those children at the school level by depleting their funds to a recall election, we had to move it back to the body that handles elections recall or otherwise to the place that to the, entity that is responsible for elections and that would be just of my amendment if you would entertain it Representative Bell. I think that the way that it is written now is fine and I'm happy to discuss this with you after committee and before it gets to the floor, but I believe that I know my county, the school board has fund balance, they spent money every year on studies that they stick on the shelf and do nothing with tens Of thousands of dollars so certainly an investment to hear what the voters have to say about their agenda is a good investment I believe of their funds and I'm fine the way that's its written today. Representative Hardister you're recognized Thank you Mr. Chair, I would like to make a favarable motion at your favourable time. Ok, we will hold that. Representative Mishel you are next, And you made a statement that are one other problem they're having in Burstein is [xx] county under any kind of court order or anything at this juncture that you know about going to have to do busing? No, sir but I have believe, read in the papers and heard from members of the African American community, the NAACP that if the school board moves forward with the plan A and plan B, that they intend to file a lawsuit to try to stop what the county is looking at doing at this time. Follow up? Follow up. As I'm understanding it, there are some school board members who have voted for this that you're saying people don't want. How is what they are doing now going to affect the diversity in terms of the school system? Well members of the African American community that I spoke with that are predominantly located in the City of Albermarle, which would be the school that they're closing down, they would be shutting down that school, ending the athletic programs there and then busing the students there anywhere from five to 15 miles out to other high school in the country they're concerned because it takes away the opportunity for those kids in town who don't have vehicles to drive back and forth and are left only to drop on a bus and get home won't have opportunities before and after school with programs with athletics those who will be taken away from them and it basically will shut down the school within the city, they're going to turn it into they want to turn it to in one of their proposes they want to turn it into a magnet school but it will be one without any athletic programs and something made the folks in town are concerned about in this town. One follow, Follow. I guess my question is what has been the importance of this whole situation I guess, what is it? Why does the school board want to close these schools and do this pressing thing? There several arguments that have been made. Some are saying that the population of some of the schools are not at the capacity that they want. So therefore, they want to shut them down, and fill up fewer schools. What they are actually doing is, they are counting in the trailers that they placed and remained in the schools, and using that in their figures as well to say that they got this additional classrooms available there. But that  is also the agenda of a few folks within the City of Admar, who want to create a magnet school. They want to shut down the County Schools in order to get a magnet, because they think it will help them with economic development. There's 10 or 15 different answers I have heard given for that. All this has popped up since January. It has come on fairly quick and surprised many people in our community, and they seem to be a pretty aggressive about moving forward whether folks are just looking for an option to voice their opposition in what to do and try to stop it before the new Ford. I hope they don't have to

use this, I hope this sends a message to him that people are serious, and that they will slow down. Representative Floyd Mr. Chair this question I would like ask of the staff. You have the floor. On the normal collection the cost, [xx] by the board of election. Mr. Frost? [xx] Correction by the county. That's correct, the county is responsible for the cost of the election. Mr. Chair a follow-up. In order to not delay the process where we get on to [xx] and this ammendment comes about if it's possible that there could be [xx] not board upon the schools just to be safe, but the county board of election desk, in compliance with our laws say who did these Chairman Lewis is recognized for question. This is just an inquiry to stir follow-up on what Representative [xx] has asked. I would be correct to say that while the county does pay for county elections at large if, for instance, a municipality within a county were going to call for an election then the cost would fall on the municipality much as this bill would propose that if the local ALA through this process would have called for an election that they would reimburse the county for the cost. Is that not sort of standard practice now? And now will be the staff. Generally for special elections that are not the standard elections it is frequent that there is a provision that the special election is born by the unit that is requiring this special election Representative Floyd are you satisfied? Representative Richardson? Thank you Mr. Chair, my question is for the bill's, the recall you said is because the citizens, the parents are not satisfied with the present school board, what guarantees do you have that the next elected school board won't have the same concern, and are you opening a can of worms, that every time 6000 whatever the number is, is this satisfying what an electing body that is elected to make policies, don't agree with those policy makers that you're not going to have this a repeated action. Representative Bur? Well, for me this is a part of a democratic process, this has given the the voters, my constituents, the ability to make that decision that if 5800 of them sign a petition and file it with a board of elections and call for an elections, and majority vote decide to recount members of the school board then they certainly should have that right to do that, and it shouldn't be something, when you're dealing with children and where thy're going to school, it shouldn't be something that it's been put off year, year and a half, nearly two years, just because you want to wait on the next election on something this important. This is about the kids in these classrooms, but it's also a number of communities that are going to lose their schools and it's going to have a dramatic effect on those communities, their ability to grow and to thrive if they lose their schools, and kids are bused to another end of the county. Follow up. A follow up? Yes so, that means that we could be constantly be depleting the funds that would be used to educate these children if you're going to put that responsibility on the local school system, correct?  Representative Berl No, because you, again as I said earlier, the school system has spent tens of thousands, hundred of thousands fellows to do studies, to do night net in  schools that are no longer in use. They just, year and a half ago spent nearly $250 Million to take a school that was shut down three years ago, to convert it to the central office after they spent $250 Million  they realized it was going to cost even more money so they just abandoned their plan and they left the central office [xx] So they got money, it's just a matter of whether they're spending it responsibly or not. And and again as I said the opportunity to spend between 25 or $50, 000 to remove members of the school board and again make sure that the direction they're headed in is the direction the voters wont is it certainly cheaper that it would be to wait have schools shut down and then spend hundreds of thousands of millions to re-open a school that's been closed. Representative Warren you're recognized.

Ladies and gentlemen just watch the clock we will take a vote by 2:25 thank you I just have three-part question. Do you have any idea what the school's reserves are, reserve fund is? How much such an election might cost? And how frequently has this come up? I couldn't tell you the exact amount of their reserves but I do know, as far as I'm aware, Burke County put this in place 2011 many of us voted for, but it has not been used since it was enacted, as for the municipalities and others that have it, I don't have those figures, but as I said what the local board of elections said was that it will be somewhere between 25, 000 and 50, 000 depended on if it was special election where there was no other election taking place or there was during primarily or general election then obviously the cost be reduced. However[sp?] with this section 10 of the voter ID bill pertained a special election and they could only be held at certain times, with this special election falling in that category to sense is not a safety issue infrastructure issue of top priority. My understanding when that bill was crafted that recall elections were curved out of that pervation are already out of there and those can be held already any time but it is not regret it defect that's is not the case. Seeing no further questions. Representative Catherine Just a quick question. Where are we in the election cycle with these candidates, are they all up?  This year, or did you say it was next year? We have our election school board on even year so part of them were just elected last year and the other could be next November. Seeing no further questions. Representative Harvester you're recognized for a motion. Thank you Mr. Chairman. I move for a favorable report on house bill 111, the PCS for house go 111 with the referral to local government. In favorable to the original that's correct. Representative Paul. The referral have been stricken there is no referral. Okay the referral has been stricken, so the motion is for a favorable report for the house committee substitute, house bill 111, unfavorable to the original. Members in favor signify by saying aye. "aye", all oppose no. No. The ayes appear to have it. The ayes do have it, and this appeal has given a favorable port. Ladies and gentlemen Arab committee will be in recess until immediately after. And just we take a corrective deep breath, I complain around here sometimes about not getting my excise I think we were able to get a little bit today. At least we got you outside in the nice weather going from building to building. Members we have two more bills a this time will bring back representative Bur[sp?] and this is house bill 112, this is not a PCS. Representative Bar[sp?] your recognized to present your bill. Thank you Mr. Chairman this bill is identical to the first bill the committee heard earlier from Representative West and this is just simply change in the election method for the Stanley county school board and will move in from a non partisan race to a partisan election so that folks in Stanley county will have a little more of an opportunity to vet these candidates and hear from them potentially and two elections during the year of [xx] in the general election questions from the committee representative Harrison. Just a quick comment I'm I don't want to sound like a broken record, but I feel like this is a really bad trend for us to be making school board partisan I just don't think that education is a personal issue and I know this is something that [xx] kind of like, we got another Bill coming up that does the same thing, I think it's bad policy for us to force this on this government board so I urge you right now. Any other questions comments from the committee I'm sorry representative Ford motion weren't appropriate, okay representative ford I believe its the appropriate time, make a motion to accept bill 112 is favorable, still goes to local government I believe, no that's been stricken, move to approve, [xx] you serve the nation for a favourable report house bill 112, all in favor signify by saying 'Aye', all opposed 'no' , senior of the chair, the I's have it the I's do have it and the bill is passed, committee released. Members the next bill will

be house bill 189, and I will be presenting that bill I'm asking representative Burgeon if he will take the chair We have for us now house bill 189, there's a PCS and that will representative Brian moves to set the PCS before us, those in favor say aye, those oppose no, the aye's have it. PCS is now properIy before us. Representative Jones Thank you Mr. Chair, members of the committee house bill 189 is entitled Rackenham county school board, what this bill will do first of all let me say that this is supported by the entire Rackenham county delegation which is representative Holloway, myself and Senator Burger. This bill in section one would take the school board size from 11 to seven, and let me say that will be subject to a referendum, of 115 school systems in the state 93 have either five, six, or seven members. Vast majority have either five or seven, Rackenham county he has 11 member, an 11 member school board is the largest in the state, only 5/115 school boards have 11 members. For many years I have heard from citizens that feel that the board is too large, and the matter of fact at a campaign from last fall all but one of 10 school board candidates that they would support a reduction in the size of the school board as I said before by far most school boards in the State have either five, or seven members. For instance our neighbouring counties Rockingham States to our West has five members, Caswal[sp?] to our East has seven. {xx] county to our South does it is one of those five that has 11 members, but it has between five and six times more students with over 7, 0000. Am I incorrect on that? Mr. Chair. Representative Huston. Actually the gill for county school baord was 11 members nbut now it is reduced to nine. starting in 2016. Thank you sir for that correction. So I stand corrected. Maybe now there is only four school boards with 11. Hopefully after this bill passes there will be only three. So anyway there have been years in the planning, obvious I have had discussions with the school superintendent, the chair of the board of education other members of the board, the county manager, the county commissioner, board of elections many citizens, and now we are presenting a plan. The plan is endorsed and recommended by the board of commissioners. I will tell you that school board candidates are divided and I know that two of them are here today to speak against it. As I said earlier the plan would be subject to a referendum of the voters as you know, that is not necessary, the general assembly has every right and privilege to change that without a referendum, it is my choice that it would go as a referendum. If you look at a map before you you you actually have a map on your desk that is the proposed new plan the one up on the board, up on the wall is the current plan and I just want to appoint to you that Rockin h and country current certainly has six districts and five at large members. Also for you to know that county has four high schools and four attendants exams, and it makes sense to a lot of folks that the four districts would be similar to those attended signs and that what we see on the new plan if you look before you. The new districts will be much simpler, much more transparent for vetters, much easier for the board of elections, they follow a pressing lands. What is there now does not there are only two incidents where we were unable to follow a pressing land and we follow the house districts lands between map, district, the district direct represent, and the district that represented Halloween, represents. So we've got two presits in the country that's cleared, let's clear that, house district lands every other School Board District would be at a pleasing line, and so I would just add, it should be obvious, but I do want to say that the new district plan confirms that all the laws governing the drawing of such districts. Section two we'd make the school board a part soon election and I have heard some of the comments on previous speakers

and I haven't said anything. Let me tell you why I wanted us to do this is Rocking Hand County, while many people wanted to do this. They were 18 candidates for the school board in 2014 we had two elections on our ballot. We had 19 people running for the court of appeals and 18 running for the school board. So we had 37 people running for two elections. I didn't go back and count, I probably should have but I'm pretty sure that is more than every other election we had on the ballot put together. Now I have this argument and I have heard it before and I just rejected it as myth that people that have to run on partisan races are somehow more partisan than people, than people that run into so called non-policing races. I know there're people in the general assembly that used to serve in non and offices, do they somehow become more partisan, the day they started running for partisan race. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I would say if we believe that then we ought to do away with political parties. We ought to be running for the general assembly and not parties and races. What we're trying to trying to do is have a situation where the political parties can do what they are designed to do and the primaries can make it so that there aren't so many people running on the general ballot in the follower. We think that's a legitimate thing to do. People say well this office or that office shouldn't be a partisan office. Offices aren't partisan, people are partisan. And it's up to the voters to decide. I say that we ought to give the voter more information and let them decide if it matters to them whether the person running is an Republican or is a Democrat or is unaffiliated. Now I will tell you personally as a sitting legislator in a partisan office so I suppose I'm supposed to be one of the most partisan people around. I'm one of many people in the county who knows on the school board elections in the so-called non-partisan elections what the party affiliations is of the candidate. And I will tell you personally standing here as a Republican legislator, I have voted for Democrats that I knew that were running because I thought they were better candidates. So all I'm saying is that in making a partisan election, you pair down the number of candidates for the fall elections, let the political parties do what they were designed to do and for the people that make the argument that we you don't want someone representing a party that might make it even easier for an unaffiliated candidate to win and I have heard that it is impossible for an affiliated candidate to election, some of you know what I'm talking about. I won as a non-affiliated they can to they to the legislature. So, I believe it's the right thing to do. I know that many people of my county believe it's the right thing to do. I would say that Guana gave the vendors more information and let them use it if they want to.. Section three clarifies the appointment of vacancies, it was settled an issue that has created division between the school board and the county commissioners. What it will do is turn a shall into a may. It basically give the school board the right to submit candidates to the county commissioners for an appointment to a vacancy, but the commissioners would not have to take one of those candidates and now it's a mere that other bodies such as The Board of Commissioner such as The North Carolina legislature. When we have a vacancy, we don't appoint the person to fill that vacancy. The county commissioners do have a broader level of oversight in the county, and all of the county commissioners are accountable to the various county wide and that's not true for the school board members. So ladies and gentlemen I stand prepared to take any questions, I know that we have got some speakers here that have come and I would like to speak against  it. Mr. Chairman now you are back. Thank you, we ahd several members who had questions and we will take those and then we will go to the public comment representative Beshali. So when it comes to the partisan or non partisan there is no partisan in this room that would not honestly acknowledge that the non partisan braises are still partisan. The ones that are affiliated with the democrats go to the democrat party and try and get their support, the ones that are affiliated with republican come to the republican party and get their support, we all know that. So, to call him non-partisan is ridiculous anyway because they're all looking for their basic support from the party that they that they support so, that's to me, that's not even in, it's none issue and anybody who have been here and honest to themselves knows what I'm taliking about. Representative Fisher, Thank you

Mr. Chairman this is for the best sponsor first of all, I want to congratulate you on doing your homework in terms of finding out the part of an affiliation of those candidates say you're voting for an election and I would say that I feel that that's the duty of everyone, every citizen to seek out information about each candidate. I think what I fear in changing this to parties in election is that you may be, I say you in an editorial way, that we take away that incentive to do the homework. What we are doing is more or less spoon feeding the information to voters rather than challenging them to find out what is good about a candidate whether they are republican or democrat. In that sense I think election of school board should be and remain non-partisan. The question that I have is, and I wonder which is it, we had the previous Bill sponsor come to us with the idea that you needed to have fewer school board members and election in a partisan way in order to get more participation, and you said that in the last election you had 30 plus candidates for the school board seat in the election before and that's the reason why you're bringing this bill to us so, or that among other reasons. So tell me which do you think it is, is it lack of participation or too much participation. Representative Jones? Thank you representative Fisher for that question, let me start and thank you for congratulating me I will I honestly tell you I haven't always known the party affiliation of every candidate probably [xx] might not could have told you but I had generally known, but I would just in comment back to your comments if you truly believe that then perhaps you believe that all elections should be non-partisan, and we just let the people do their due-diligence. I do believe that most people feel like political parties have legitimate role and I do, and so I do believe that should parts in elections now. As far as participation, I think I want as much participation as possible, I think that's great. The question is, are we talking about more participation in the ballot because they're 20 or 30 candidates on the ballot. I don't think so, but the concern that I have is that when you got 18 people running. I think we have an obligation and a duty to the citizens of our state to try to have a system where there democratic ideal, democratic small ideals are being respected, and when you have so may candidates and that's no reflection on the candidates that are elected or are not elected in this particular election. But you leave it wide open for a person to be elected to offer us with a very small percentage of the votes and I think that is the purpose of having primaries is so that, for lack of a better way of saying it, candidates are weeded out in the first election if you will and then those winners are sent forward to the General Election. To me, that is a sensible way of doing it and it is the way that we conduct most election, nationally, statewide and locally and so my purpose here is that, if you do it this way you will not have a situation where you have so many candidates on the poll ballot and people are confused, and you will not have so many candidates that people are not elective with a very small percentage of the vote. Representative Gill. I've two questions, thank you Mr. Chairman the first one is, what is the population of the Rotterdam County just to,   93, 000.93, 000, the other question that I want wanted to ask is, if this is a referendum will the decision about the partisan election be a part of this referendum or is not. No mam, and I can address that if you'd like. I want for the referendum to be a very simple question. The referendum is simply on section one this bill, and it has to do with the size of the school board. So we're putting a very simple ballot question before the voters. Would you prefer to have an 11 member school board, or would you prefer to have a seven member school board. And I would like to follow up with this, and I've been trying to be brief, but I want to be complete in my explanation, every member of the school will fill out their term. Every member of the school board will have the opportunity to run for reelection. I don't know what they plan to do, I know

many of the members of the school board have served many terms already, but that is irrelevant, but you probably should know that. However the way it would work, we would be a step down, if it does pass the referendum in two years it will go from 11 to 9, and then two more years it will go from 11 to 7. We have staggered right now, so that's the way that would happen, so just to make clear nobody would lose their opportunity or lose a part of their term. Representative Hardista[sp?] Thank you Mr. Chair. Just a few comments, the reduction of the board I think makes a lot of sense, I just did some homework here. I found out that, and representative Johns just said that the population in Rockingham County is 93, 000, and in Guildford County is over 500, 000. We have non members in our school board and you're looking to reduce yours to seven, so I think per capita your school board will still be larger than ours in Gilford. As far as parties and elections are concerned I understand the consternation like if you just think about it upfront I understand some people are concerned about that but in reality as representative Specialy[sp?] said, human beings have opinions and it doesn't matter if you're town council, or state legislature, county commissioner school board you have opinions and I think providing that information to voters makes sense and also as representative Spicialy said, I can tell you in Gilford county that when the school board elections take place if you pay attention at all and you really don't have to do that much homework, the political parties line up behind candidates. The Democratic Party were lined up behind the democratic candidates and the republican party does it likewise, so just putting that on the barrel seems to make sense for me and I think it does, increase competition through the primary process, where the Democrats can have a primary, the Republicans have a primary. Really I don't have a problem with that and I think this is a good Bill and therefore I know there's more discussion we have, but Mr. Chair I'd like to make a motion at the appropriate time. Alright. We'll hold that motion and take additional questions and then we'll move to public comment. Representative Harrison. Thank you Mr. Chair. At the risk of repeating myself, I really do think trying to make school board Partisan is a problem. I don't think education's a Partisan issue. I understand that actually three sitting members of the Rockingham's right now unaffiliated. Now I appreciate the fact that representative Johns managed to meet that hurdle to win the election but it's very difficult I hope at some point we'll maybe lower the threshold for the number of votes needed to get on the palace an unaffiliate because I think we need more unaffiliate candidates and legistrators and whatever I like about officials and I think it's the fastest growing segment of the vendor regestrations on affiliated voters. So, I think we're creating a huddle for unaffiliated voters to be on the run-free election. I just don't think partisanship has any place in school board races and I appreciate the fact they have a referendum on the reduction of the size. I wish you were having a referendum on the Partison question as well, but I guess I'm going to have to oppose the bill. Thank you. Yes sir. Representative Jones. I appreciate your comments representative Harrison and I do one for you that I considered that. No one is trying to make more difficult for the unaffiliated candidates. The way I look at it is, if the majority of the voters or even the plurality of voters share your opinion about that, this might actually help the unaffiliated candidates. Maybe there're enough people out there that think that the board of education is so nonpartisan, that they don't want to elect somebody whose got democrat label, and it might very well help the non affiliated candidates. So, that's just my opinion. Deputy Boss. I have a question about the districts. What was the rationale behind the drawing of these particular districts if any? Thank you. That's an excellent question. We started with the forward tenants' zones in the county. And we could not have gone with that because we had to be plus or -5% for each district being about the same size and that would not have worked. But what we did was we went to precinct borders that most closely approximated their tenants zones in the county and we were almost able to draw a map that followed nothing but precinct borders. And I know just like most counties, if you look at the map in front of you and I had one, it's here somewhere, but it's irregular and that's just the way that our precincts looked if you look at district one down in the south east corner and you see how it kind of sticks over into the center of

the county is because there's a precinct that does that. And actually, what you see on the western most part of district one is a voter tabulation district that shares a precinct with another voter tabulation district to the east of it. So what I'm trying to say is we followed precinct borders every way that we could, and the're only two places in the county that do not precinct border, they follow house district borders. So it will be a far simpler election for the board of elections. I think it'll be far simpler and far more transparent. to the voters to understand what district that they're in. Representative Ford. Just one question. Does the board members receive any compensation? Yes sir.   And how is that if I may, follow up. Follow up.   How much compensation is that? I don't know, I think they are like us, they're not doing it for the money. But it's not huge but they are certainly compensated and we actually had two sitting board members here and they're going to speak and they could address that. Follow up So if it's down from 11 to 7 and so if that's a $1000 or so Pridemark the board was saved that amount of money over a fiscal year. Yes sir. And that's true, and I didn't make a big deal out of that because it's not a huge amount of money, but it is a significant amount of money for a tear one county, and a county of that size. It is it's true that it was saved, the board of education, it was education education Dollars in Rock and Harm County that could be better used for something else. Representative William Harm, did you have and inquiry. Okay. Thank you. You're recognized. Yes, thank you. Let me say first of all that, I'm going to support the bill, I think it's a good bill, but there is one portion of it, and tell you this a former school board member, and as also as a former board of elections member. The only problem I have question I would have. The question would be, having the, and also I'm talking as a former county commissioner too. The only problem I would have is that the county commissioner is the only one who select a replacement for a vacant seat, and I believe that, that should be done by the remainder school board members rather than the county commissioners, and I think the same process can be used as for worries, it been the part of this and then the political party making the recommendations o the school board, and of course the school board don't have to select that person but more likely that normally go with who selected at that point. So that would be my concern. That's the only concern that I have I do support the bill. Thanks representer. Members the chair has then made aware that there are at least two if not three members of the public have traveled to be with us today and we are pleased to welcomed them to the elections committee. The chair is aware of all your right and stand a Rocking ham and county School Board Member Miss [xx] if you'd like to speak if you would please raise and go to the microphone directly, to the right of this house Surgent at Armsand he will turn it on and We're glad you're here we welcome you. Please if you will state your name for the record and we'd like to keep your comments around a minute, but you are a guest so we certainly would be glad to hear you out. Yes mum Mrs. Write. And if the green light is not lit you can pushed about in other words it should be good to go. You have the floor man. Good afternoon, I thank you for allowing me made to stand before you this afternoon, but I stand before you infuriated and the reason I stand before you infuriated it is because of the responses of the billl did not respect me as a school board member enough to ask me how I feel about what is happening at this moment. Now one of the smoses of the billsstood before us are saying that many people from Rockeham county ask that this be done, I've been on the board for three months but I have around for a long time, over 30 years as a teacher in Rockenham county and have watched the school board for 30 years I didn't just

wait until time for me to run to get up and sit and watch what was going on. I have a problem with the fact that the sponsors did not come before he said that I was a guest and that he will give me a little more at times so with that can I continue with that some few more sentences? Yes mum we'll give you about 30 more please. 30 more seconds thank you, so I urge you to vote against this this has anyone who wants a bill represents the Kentucky county just take a couple of people and listen to what they say but you all also need to listen to everyone in the county, thank you for allowing me to speak. Thank you Mrs. Wright chair's also aware, Miss Virginia Hoover, also a member of the Rockingham County school board. It may serve a few here. We welcome you to the elections committee if you approve approach the mic and just state your name for the record. Of course extend the same courtesy of a minute and a half to you. Thank you Mr. Chair. My name Virginia Hover, I reside at 713 West Academy Street, Madison, North Carolina. I am a second term school board member. I served an unexpired term for Tim Scales who died and I was elected this past November. As the sponsor stated, first of all, there were a form and he told there was one person who wrote it not to bother the school board, that one person was me. Out of those ten who were there who said they would, not any one of them got elected. I voted no against it near and I've voted no again. The history of Rockingham County school board is somewhat over situation if  you've been submerged you know what I'm talking about. We had four zones, four districts we merged, we came together as four districts, when we should been one district. Division and segregation were the key elements of that board. There's a reason why the board is eleven now, no one is talking about that. Yes we started out with eight but it become such a turmoil that legislation went through to increase the board to eleven. We have more working co-operations partnerships than we've ever had of the school board. I don't want you or to pass legislation that's going to divide us. My time is up thank you so much. Thank you mum. Mrs Brady are you here? Mrs Brady will be pleased to welcome you to the house committee on here elections if you'll please state your name and we'll again extend the same courtesy of minutes and half team. Thank you very much, my name is Ian Brady, I'm retired educator from Rockin h and county and this is what happens when your time cut and you're listening to those sports sponsor. I trust each of you have received and hopefully read my letter so I wont reiterate. I want to know why many of you who've never been in Nottingham County all trying to reduce the diversity on our school board which will be the result of this bill. Why is Laurie telling encouraging voters, how to vote without the input of local stakeholders and I really do hate the trend of the General Assembly to dictate local politics. Many of you run on platform of less government. This surely doesn't feel that way. This bill dictates the new lines, if we reduce the number. I'm glad those lines are going for a referendum. I don't really mind the referendum but I mind the lines. We're going back to those same school systems and we still have territorial issues, I really think the voters, if we chose to reduce the numbers or should be an impartial method to determine the district lines, I think that change needs to go on the bill. As far as the partisan is in. First of all there were five people elected maybe that's too many but if you do five Republicans, five Democrats and I believe they were three unaffiliates that's pretty close to the number of people that run so I'm not sure if going partisan would solve that problem. I am very concerned about the unaffiliated voters and as Representative Harrison said, there are three on the member. So one last statement. Please let the minimum make the whole Bill part of the referendum and add an independent method for this districting. Thank you very much. The Chair is not aware of any other members of the

public that's signed down to speak at this time, so we move back into committee discussion. Representative Jones did you wish to speak or do you want to move on with the committee. The chair stand representative Warren stand first for what purpose does general seek recognition? To some bills went through, questions for clarification? Heels. Thank you Mr [xx] Representative George just came in a little bit late and I apologise for that, for clarification for me center will be voting on this. Do I understand the Bill to be proposed phasing a reduction phased in over the next several years, gradually from the current number down to nine down to seven and re-districting the area, changing the district from the current number down to four and also changing the reason to a partisan race but putting the whole issue in the referendum before the people, is that correct? The Partisan Party is not that on a referendum, the changing of the school board from 11 to 7 is on the referendum and you're right is a step down 11 to 9 to 7. Follow the General make the pose to questions. So if this motion was to pass through the House then the personship would take effect whether or not it passes in the referendum, I mean a referendum is totally towards, as I understood your answer the referendum would apply to the reduction of the number of board members but personship would remain or go into effect, is that correct? That's correct. Thank you. Representative Mitchell. Yes, Mr. Chairman I've got just one statement and a couple of questions on this. The lady who spoke first, mentioned the fact that by being disrespected and not having, and she saw a little better that here today and the reason I say that is because, the chairman he wanted to chair, you were not here, this vice chair was not here. He yielded to a person who was not a vice chair to the committee. The only one who was here was me, and I needed a chance to preside so that's something I have a little problem with, but The gentleman's point is is noted. Thank you sir. My question is, and if you cut this school board down then the varsity on the school board as it stands now from what I understand, what is going, if cutting this number down, it's just going to affect the diversity on that board. No sir, the current 11-member school board we are, we have three minorities on that board. Two there's minorities I would know are elected at large. In the six districts that you see there is a district we don't have majority minority district because we can't Rock and Hand county but it does favor the election of minority. The map that you see before you, district one will also favor the election of minority. But we would be going from situations with six districts and five at large to four districts and three at large. But another question The gentlemen recognize to sort of follow-up on that. I understand that [xx] population Rockingham county about 93, 000 I understand that's correct. What's the party breakdown in Rockingham county? It is roughly there are more Democrats than there are Republicans, there are more Republicans and non-affiliated put together then they're Democrats. I believe that they're about 47 to 48% Democrat the last time I, this is rough maybe 31% Republican the rest unaffiliated something like that. Mr. Chair could I just one more?   Yes sir. The word disrespect has been used a couple times here. I do want to say that while I have not had personal contact with the two ladies they're correct, we have had meetings for, and we have had meetings that included the Chair of the school board and the school's superintendent. I knew and I have heard indirectly that there were members that would be opposed. However, we're not here just to represent the will or the wishes of the school board. We're here to represent the will and the wishes of the citizens and I would point out that those that are against changing the size of the school board have every right and opportunity to vote no. No one was intended to

be disrespected, so that's all I would say about that. Representative Bost, if you hold for just a moment. Miss Brady, the Chairman meant to inform you, I saw you had written remarks, If you'd like to submit those for the committee record please feel free to give those to the sergeant in arms and we'll make sure that the entire remarks are included. Representative Blust, for what purpose do you seek recognition. I have a question. The gentleman is recognized.   Representative Jones, how did the county get to the current makeup of the school board, it looks like six districts, so it must be five large so with that done by the general assembly or locally or was that by referendum, when and how was that arrived at? Thats a nice question, it was done by the general assembly, it was not done by referendum, it was said earlier that there was a consolidation back in 1993, of full school systems in Rocking Ham county and at that time there were eight districts created. And the problem with that system as many came to believe it was that every person in that county was only accountable to the people in their own district. So they were being elected by 12 1/2% people in their own county and we did feel that led to people after territorial issues rather than what was best county wide. And so we wanted to go to a system where at least people in the county could elect the majority of their school board. And under the laws as they existed at the time the only way to do that was go to in an 11 member school board and so now people in the county can elect six out of 11 they at least can elect the majority. Since then there has been some changes in the law that would allow reducing the size of the school board, and again if you look at not only I go back to where I started but 93 of the 115 school boards in the state have seven members or less and when you particularly consider counties of our size verses a Guilford or a Mecklenburg or something, a lot of those actually have five but it's pretty well split between five or seven so we felt like this was more than reasonable. Is there further discussion or debate on what the Chair believes to be the motion from the gentleman from Guilford, Representative hard to start to give the proposed committee substitute to hospital 189 of February report. The I's and nos haven't been asked for the clerk, will get the clerk just a moment to prepare to record the role. Members to question before the committee is the motion by representative Harrison to give the proposed community substitute for house bill 189 of favor report. Those who favor the motion to give house the proposed community substitute to house 189 of February report, you will answer, 'I' when your name is called, those opposed will answer 'no' when their name is called. The clerk will call the roll. Representative Johns, I representative Louis, representative Mitchel No Representative Warren, I Representative Blush, I Representative Brody, I Representative Brain brown? Representative Bryan? Representative Burr? Representative Conrad? Representative Cothim? Representative Davis? Representative Dixon? Representative Faye clove? Representative Fisher?  representative Floyd, Representative Ford? Representative Gill? Representative Graham George? Representative Hansen? representative Harrison? Representative Hannah? Representative Adler? Representative Susan Martin? Representative Richardson? Representative Raydel? Representative Sean? Representative Shaffer?  Representative Shelly? Representative Stan? Representative Torbit? Representative William This chaired has 19 Is, eight Nos.

Members, with 19 members voting in the affirmative and eight members voting in the negative, the motion by representative Hardy should give the proposed committee substitute for house bill 189 has passed' Thank you Mr. Chair and members of the committee. Members there being no further business before the election committee, the committee on election stands adjourned.