by Karen Meaney
November 20, 2018
The National Association of State Boards of Education expects three issues will top the agendas of state boards following the November elections. They are school finance, Every Student Succeeds Act plan revisions, and supporting career and technical education and early childhood education—the last of those tends to have bipartisan support.
Most of the 500 elected state board members continue to serve terms that did not expire in the recent election, but 49 state board seats were on the ballot with slightly over half of the incumbents being re-elected, according to NASBE. In Michigan, the election of two Democrats shifted control of the state education board to that party.
Additionally, voters chose seven state education chiefs, with incumbents re-elected in Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming. There also were eight statewide funding proposal on the ballot. In New Jersey, New Mexico and Rhode Island, state education bond measures passed.
New Jersey's yes vote means $350 million will be spent for grants for career and technical education in K-12 schools and for security improvements. The Rhode Island measure provides $250 for public school facility repairs. The New Mexico proposition provides $6.1 million for school buses equipped with air conditioning.
There were 36 state gubernatorial elections and three territorial governor elections in 2018, and 12 new governors will appoint most or all of their state boards of education over time.
In Illinois, where gubernatorial control shifted to the Democrats with the election of J. B. Pritzker, five of nine state board members terms expire in 2019. The new governor also will need to address K-12 funding gaps and pension liability issues.
In California, the governor, state education chief and board president all are new. Governor-elect Gavin Newsome's first appointments to the state education board likely will represent early childhood interests, an education priority of the incoming governor.
Education is expected to be a focus for several incoming governors. Wisconsin Governor-elect Tony Evers is a former state education chief officer. Incoming Colorado Gov. Jared Polis was a state board of education member.
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