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School Board Votes to Hold Elections in Even Years

Trustees vote unanimously Monday night to switch election years to even years in hopes of saving money.

The Los Altos School Board has switched to even-year elections, becoming just one more local government body to make this change.

Superintendent Jeff Baier told the board Monday night that the city of Palo Alto had changed election cycles, which triggered Palo Alto Unified to do the same.

“And now (Community College District) is the only other agency in our area on odd-number election years," he said. "If their election cycle, and they are considering it now, if they do, we would bear the whole cost of the election fees that incurred.” 

If the district were to split the cost of the election in half with the community college district, each would pay $103,000. But with the election switching to even years, the Los Altos School District can share the expense with the other jurisdictions, dropping the cost to $65,000.

The Foothill-DeAnza district board, indeed, did vote that same night to switch to even-number election years, spokeswoman Becky Bartindale said later.

The only outstanding concern for several board members was that changing the election year would extend their own terms by one year.

“When we talked about this before, I was concerned about extending my own term, but it seems like all the other bodies are doing this without hesitation," board vice president Mark Goines said. "… We have a lot to do. We have a lot of issues; this is going to be rough seas for the next few years.” 

Tom Campbell, a member of the board's Citizens Advisory Committee for Finance, suggested having everyone on the board run for election in 2012, with three running for four-year terms and two running for two-year terms. “That way you’d get away from this business of everyone having longer terms, and you’d be staggered off," he said.

Board member Tamara Logan said she agreed with Campbell’s idea, but the board did not act immediately. 

The school district would cover the cost of notifying its voters of the change.

This vote comes a week after the district unanimously voted to hold May 3 for a second school parcel tax. 

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