Thursday, November 9, 2017

Board member turnover
rate reaches 20-year low

The turnover rate of Illinois school board members in the April 2017 election was the lowest seen in the past 10 biennial elections.

New members were chosen to occupy 39.6 percent of all school board seats filled on April 4 (see accompanying chart). IASB records show 1,149 new board members were elected and 1,754 incumbents were re-elected for the 2,903 terms that were expiring. That’s a turnover rate of just 19.5 percent of the 2,903 terms that expired.

The turnover rate over the previous 20 years ranged from 21.7 percent in 2009 and 2011, to 24.6 percent in 1997.

IASB currently has a total of 5,882 school board members in 844 member school districts. There are just five districts that do not belong to the Association. Elections are held every other year for the staggered, four-year school board terms.

The April 2017 election saw a higher success rate for incumbents seeking re-election (60.4 percent) than at any board election in a decade, matching the previous low from 2011. Until this year’s uptick, the incumbent success rate had fallen in three successive biennial elections after reaching a 20-year high of 58.3 percent in 2011.

“Although our turnover rate was rather low this time at 19.5 percent, it has been averaging a relatively stable 21 to 24 percent over the past 20 years, so this year’s turnover was a little bit below the norm. This may mean that voters are mostly satisfied with the job their school boards are doing,” said IASB Deputy Executive Director Ben Schwarm.

Board member turnover data and finance election data is available online here.