Steamboat Springs School Board seats now at-large
November 5, 2013
Steamboat Springs — Future School Board races in Steamboat Springs should be more competitive — or at least draw more interest — thanks to the passage of Referendum 3A on Tuesday.
Faced with the challenge of attracting candidates to fill open Steamboat Springs School Board positions during election season, the board proposed to replace its current director district format with an at-large system.
The referendum overwhelmingly passed with 72 percent of Steamboat Springs School District voters approving the measure that allows any person in any district to run for a vacant School Board position. The issue received 3,354 “yes” votes compared with 1,288 “no” votes.
"I appreciate the support of the voters in making it possible for people from all over the district to run for open district seats," School Board President Brian Kelly said.
In June, the School Board agreed by a 4-1 vote to place the issue on the ballot, with board member Robin Crossan casting the only dissenting vote. Crossan wanted to make only two of the positions at-large.
With the passage of Referendum 3A, all five board seats will be designated at-large beginning with the 2015 election.
Kelly pointed to this year's School Board races as well as other recent elections where the School Board has had a tough time attracting interested candidates.
The 2011 School Board election involved one contested race and two uncontested races.
In the past decade, 14 seats have been filled in five elections, and seven of those were decided in uncontested races.
Two seats were up for election this November. Roger Good won in District 1, and Joseph Andrew won in District 2.
The District 3 seat was up for election with Denise Connelly hitting her term limit, but no one filed to run for that spot, something Kelly said he hopes will change.
Kelly said that particular district has featured unopposed races since the past century.
The concern coming into the election with an at-large format was the lack of community diversity on the board, but Kelly said that's a moot point when no one decides to run.