Poll: Should Alexandria’s School Board adopt staggered terms?

ACPS headquarters and clock (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

After the 2021 election, two-thirds of Alexandria’s nine-person School Board were brand new to the job.

Over several recent elections, the elected body that leads Alexandria City Public Schools has had a significant turnover. It’s led to concerns that, every few years, the School Board is functionally starting from scratch and there’s a sizable adjustment period as the majority new members get adjusted to the job.

Now, Alexandria City Public Schools is considering staggered terms, meaning that officials would be elected in cycles so not all of the members of the School Board are elected at once.

As with any change, there are pros and cons. The main advantage for the Alexandria School Board would be preserving stability and might help build long-lasting lines of communication that are sorely needed between ACPS and City of Alexandria leaders.

But, as others — and one ALXnow commenter — have noted: staggered terms can be a way of entrenching elected officials and the status quo of an organization.

The School Board is hosting a work session tonight with leaders from other nearby school systems to discuss the topic of staggered terms.