On March 9, 2023, the NC General Assembly passed House Bill 30 / SL 2023-2. As a result, future terms of school board members in Granville County will now be four years instead of six years, starting with the 2024 election year.
In 1987, the Granville County Public School system was involved in a civil rights lawsuit brought by the U. S. Department of Justice. On February 17, 1989, United States District Court Judge Terrence W. Boyle signed a consent decree setting up the election of Board of Education members by seven geographical districts within the county, rather than all seats being at large. At the time, terms were set for six years.
In 2019, the Board began discussions about changing term limits to four years. Almost every other school system in North Carolina already had four year terms. The thinking of the Board was that this change would encourage more citizens to run for office and for Board members to complete their terms of service. In order to get this accomplished, it was necessary to get approval from the Voting Section of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C. and then seek a modification of the 1989 Consent Decree from the United States Eastern District Court.
Coinciding with the onset of the pandemic, the process did not move quickly. On March 29, 2022, Judge Boyle signed a Consent Decree agreeing to the proposed plan to change term limits to four years and granted the Board permission to seek a change in the North Carolina General Statutes. No other provisions of the original decree were changed.
A bill was introduced by former Representative Garrison and was heard by the House Committee on June 29, 2022. Several Board members attended the House Committee meeting. Due to the bill being heard late in the session, it did not make it to the House floor.
As the composition of the Board had changed by December of 2022, the current Board was briefed by the Board attorney on the history of the efforts thus far, particularly as it relates to this bill. A resolution for support of this change was unanimously adopted at the January 23, 2023 Board Work Session and forwarded to NC Representative Sossoman, NC Representative Winslow, and NC Senator Bode. House Bill 30 was filed by Representatives Sossamon and Winslow on January 30th and became law on March 9, 2023.
“The Granville County Board of Education is grateful for the diligence and support of Granville County’s legislative delegation in fast-tracking this much needed change in term limits. It was important to the Board that this bill be passed before the next election cycle”, said Chairwoman Glenda Williams.
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