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The Alexandria School Board is considering these restructuring options

Is the Alexandria School Board too big? Should their elections be staggered and three-year terms increased?

The entire structure of the Alexandria School Board could soon be upended, as these and a number of other big questions are up for discussion Thursday night.

In an effort to reduce Board and staff turnover, the Board will consider nine separate options to determine whether their terms should be increased to four years, if the Board should be reduced to seven members, and if districts A, B and C should be eliminated in return for at-large representation.

The nine-member School Board has been elected in concurrent three-year cycles coinciding with City Council elections since 2012. But the Board’s high turnover after the Nov. 2021 election saw six new members joining three incumbents, and members later complained that school leadership suffers when more than half body spends upward of a year learning the ropes of the school system.

Options (in the gallery above) include:

  • Reducing the size of the Board to seven by eliminating one representative from each of the districts and creating one at-large member
  • Staggering the terms so that each district elects one member every election cycle
  • Increasing Board terms to four years

The next School Board election is Nov. 2024 and each option lists 2027 as the earliest that the new system would be in effect.

Additionally, the superintendent’s tenure within ACPS is generally shorter when Board turnover is high. There have been four ACPS superintendents in the last decade, and there were also five new Board Members elected in the 2018 election, five new Members in the 2015 election and seven new Members in the 2012 election.

“On average in ACPS, Superintendents resign nine months after a new School Board takes office,” notes an ACPS staff report. “Since 1994, four of the five superintendents left when the School Board turnover was five or more members.”

The School Board will approve a resolution next month, followed by a City Council public hearing to revise the city charter. If the charter change is approved, the Virginia General Assembly will then vote on making the change official in the Virginia Charter.

ACPS School Board Election History and Change in Superintendency (via ACPS)

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