LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A state senator from the Upper Peninsula wants to change how state board of education nominees are chosen, and his proposal would heavily favor his district.
Right now, political parties can nominate whomever they like to run for the Michigan Board of Education. The board has eight members who serve eight-year terms. Those terms are staggered so that two of them are on the ballot every two years.
Republican State Sen. Ed McBroom is proposing a new system that ties each seat to one of eight districts around the state. When a seat is up for election, only people from that region could be nominated.
- Region 1: the Upper Peninsula, pop. 295,291
- Region 2: the northern Mitten, pop. 649,520
- Region 3: Western Michigan, pop. 1,574,623
- Region 4: the Thumb Region, pop. 1,133,589
- Region 5: Southwest Michigan, pop. 967,392
- Region 6: Mid-Michigan, pop. 1,497,199
- Region 7: Macomb and Oakland Counties, pop. 2,135,686
- Region 8: Wayne County, pop. 1,739,120
The uneven populations of these regions would heavily favor the Upper Peninsula, which has less than half the population of the next-smallest region. The most populous region, Region 7, would have more than seven times as many people in it as Region 1, but both would be represented by a single seat on the board.
McBroom explains his reasoning in the language of the bill itself, saying this plan is designed “to better promote a diversity of perspectives on the state board of education representative of the great diversity of schools, students, and communities statewide.”
Despite only being selected from certain regions of the state, each member of the board would still be chosen by voters state-wide. They would also be intended to serve the interests of the state as a whole rather than those of their home region.
Click here to read the text of the bill itself and see which counties are included in each region. The bill has been referred to the State Senate Committee on Education and Career Readiness.