May 20, 2014 04:57 PM
JasonElKoubi_3

Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jason El Koubi spells out why state Rep. Nancy Landry's bill to put school board elections in line with gubernatorial elections would be a positive step for the Lafayette Parish School System.

 [Editor's Note: Here's a letter from Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jason El Koubi supporting state Rep. Nancy Landry's bill to put school board elections in line with gubernatorial elections. Read more on Landry's bill here.]

Jason El Koubi

As you know, one of the Greater Lafayette Chamber's top legislative priorities for 2014 is supporting improvements to school system governance, especially in light of the dysfunctional behavior we've witnessed recently in our own school board. Rep. Nancy Landry introduced HB 786 to move Lafayette Parish's school board elections to the same cycle as gubernatorial elections, which typically involve significantly greater voter turnout. We identified our position of "support" for this bill when the Chamber board of directors voted on the 2014 legislative priorities in March.

Research shows that school systems that elect board members during higher turnout cycles tend to post higher student performance numbers. According to a March 2014 study, merely holding elections at the same time as state- or national-level elections is associated with a student proficiency rate about 2.4 points higher than a comparable district that has off-cycle elections.

HB 786 has already passed through the House of Representatives and was recently supported by a 5-1 vote in the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee. Now that the bill is up for consideration in the full Senate, several opponents of HB 786 are contacting Senators from the Lafayette area. The arguments of the opponents tend to focus on the process that led to the bill (i.e., they claim Rep. Landry did not get sufficient feedback from the school board first) and speculative points about election dynamics that are not grounded in research.  We have not seen the opponents point to any published research in making their arguments.

Please consider contacting your Senator if you are in favor of HB 786.

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- Jason El Koubi, president and CEO of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce

 

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