CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina House unanimously passed a bill on Wednesday that will dramatically change how Charleston County School Board members get elected, and now it’s heading to the governor’s desk.
The push by state lawmakers to make this change started in December, and then in January, the bipartisan county legislative delegation filed the first draft of this legislation.
If Gov. Henry McMaster signs it, school board members will be required to run in nine single-member districts starting in 2022, instead of county-wide positions. Those districts will correspond with the composition of the Charleston County Council election districts.
“One member of the Charleston County School District Board of Trustees must be elected from each of the nine defined single-member election districts,” the bill reads. “A school district board member must be a qualified elector of the election district from which he is elected.”
The Senate passed this bill with amendments in May.
“In the 2022 General Election, the members of the Charleston County School District Board of Trustees elected from Districts 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 shall serve terms of four years each and until their successors are elected and qualify and Districts 2, 4, 6, and 8 shall serve terms of two years each and until their successors are elected and qualify,” the bill reads.
Anyone elected in or after 2024 will serve four-year terms, and those running in 2020 will only serve a two-year term.
Anyone running will also only need to file a statement of candidacy to be placed on the ballot instead of collecting signatures. This is something that goes into effect immediately once it becomes law.
The bill has also received some push back. On Jan. 24, 2020, the school district hired a lobbyist as lawmakers considered it.
The governor has not yet said whether or not he’ll sign it.