House endorses Lafayette School Board election change

The Louisiana House advanced legislation Thursday that would change the timing of Lafayette School Board elections in the future.

The House voted 55-32 for the measure under which school board members, beginning in 2019, would run for election during the higher voter turnout governor’s race balloting.

“We have a better outcome when more people participate and we get closer to a consensus,” said state Rep. Nancy Landry, R-Lafayette and sponsor of the bill.

Landry said parish residents favor the move which is also endorsed by the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.

In the last four election cycles, Landry said an average of 25 percent of Lafayette voters participated in school board elections. The average turnout in governor’s races has been 45 percent, she said.

“Why would you not want to be elected in a higher turnout election?” asked Landry.

Under House Bill 786, Lafayette School Board members would run for election this fall as scheduled. They would serve an extra year in that term to get on the governor’s election cycle.

School boards across the state are generally elected at the same time as congressional balloting.

“If it’s such a good idea why don’t we amend it and have it affect all parishes,” asked state Rep. J. Rogers Pope, R-Denham Springs.

Landry said she had no problem if people wanted to add parishes. But she said she filed the legislation responding to Lafayette concerns.

The legislation now heads to the state Senate for debate.