From My Corner: May 8, 2024

Changes in the School Committee

Several people contacted me with questions regarding the article on the changes in the school committee proposed by Mayor Brian DePeña so I decided to boil it down to a more palatable form.  I did lots of research but, by not being a lawyer, it was very difficult for me to understand – even when I had help from a friend.

The mayor’s proposed “hybrid school committee” membership made up of “8 appointed” and “3 elected members” removes the school committee from being entirely an “elected body” as required.  Under this proposal, the “appointed members” will always be able to defeat the “elected members” in every vote on every issue.

Councilor Levy’s proposal retains the existing 6 elected district school committee members and adds three members appointed by the mayor.

Both versions provide one member to be nominated from the LHS student council granting this individual with full voting rights as the proposed “elected” and “appointed” members.  Both versions retain the mayor (or a designee) as the “Chair” of the school committee. 

Both proposals provide a school committee that is part “appointed” and part “elected” – which is contrary to the laws that enable the establishment of a “school committee” in the Commonwealth which requires all members to be “elected”.  

A school committee composed of “unelected” members is contrary to the Massachusetts Constitution [Article IX of the Declaration of Rights].  

Some may argue that passing legislation like a Home Rule Petition is all that is needed to amend any provision of the Massachusetts Constitution and that passing a law is sufficient to amend a representative form of “governance”.

A Constitutional Representative form of governance MUST be made up of members that are entirely elected by the voters to maintain its characteristic as a “democratic republic” as provided by the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.  

Appointing members to “elected boards” such as the School Committee and the City Council fails to meet the Constitutional form of governance standard and is unconstitutional because it removes the requirement that all “elected representatives” be “elected by the voters” – which may unlawfully disenfranchise voters denying them of their Civil Rights.

There are rumors that Councilor Ana Levy’s proposal suggests eliminating the school committee which is furthest from the truth.  I suggest that you read it.



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