The annual spring school elections are a thing of the past...for at least the next four years, after the Hillsborough Board of Education approved a resolution on a 6-2 vote to hold school board elections in November at Monday's meeting.
Board President Thomas Kinst and member Judith Haas voted against the change, citing the importance of having voters weigh in on annual budgets.
"I trust the voters and respect their votes," Kinst said, after acknowledging "valid reasons" to support both sides of the issue. "For me, having accountability at the local level is important."
He added he believed it's important voters weigh in on the budgets that affect 75 percent of their property tax bills.
Haas, noting she's been involved in budget defeats both as a board member and as township administrator, said she felt the voting as still important.
"The bottom line is whether or not people show up, it's up to them," she said.
But the remaining members said the advantages of moving the election weighed too heavily.
"I think my heart tells me to keep the election in April but the facts don't point that way," member Greg Gillette said.
Board member Thuy Anh Le noted the impacts of past failed budgets have stymied board progress. She also pointed out the security risk of multiple elections in schools can be reduced.
Resident Jennfer Dowd, of Fieldhedge Drive, spoke passionately against the change, charging voting to change the election would "debase" the public's support for the board.
"We need more time to consider this as a community," she said. "We can do this together, but you need your citizens—don't take away our right to vote."
After the vote, Kinst noted the change wasn't permanent.
"It's Jan. 28...so we can vote on this again in four years," he said.
This article was edited to add the full vote of the board.