Monday, September 28, 2015

Board turnover little changed in 20 years

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The turnover rate for Illinois school board members in the 2015 election was 22.1 percent, just below the 2013 election turnover rate and slightly below the turnover rate at most biennial elections over the past 20 years. The turnover rate has averaged 22.9 percent over those two decades, based on data from IASB member boards.

IASB membership records also indicate 1,310 new members filled school board seats in 2015, out of a total of 5,922 board seats. This is not much changed from the last school board election in 2013, when 1,383 new board members were seated, out of a total of 5,932 available positions.

Turnover rates among Illinois school board members over the past 20 years has ranged from a low of 21.7 percent in 2011, when just 1,288, new members were elected, to a high turnover rate of 24.6 percent in 1997, when 1,489 new members were elected. Over the past 10 years the turnover rate for school board members has hovered within a range of about 22 percent to 25 percent, the same as the decade before.

A significant source of board turnover typically comes from incumbents who decide not to run again. The school board election this year saw fewer incumbents reelected than last time, with 1,677 returned to office compared to 1,850 returned to office in 2013; the number reelected was also less than at any similar election since 2007, when 1,625 incumbent were reelected.

“This seems to suggest voters are satisfied with most of the incumbents in school board races, just as in recent years, with well over half being re-elected despite many choosing not to run again,” said Ben Schwarm, IASB’s Associate Executive Director for Advocacy and Governmental Relations.

The newly released numbers, showing details for this year and for the past 20 years in biennial elections, are available on the IASB website here.