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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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City of Albany
Measure S1 Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


2,643 votes yes (34.28%)

5,066 votes no (65.72%)

100% of precincts reporting (13/13).

Shall the Albany City Charter be amended to remove term limits for the Albany Unified School District School Board of Education Members, this provision to take effect on January 1, 2023?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Craig Labadie, Albany City Attorney

At the request of the Board of Education for the Albany Unified School District, the City Council has placed before the voters the question whether the Albany City Charter should be amended to remove term limits for Board of Education members, effective on January 1, 2023. A full copy of the Charter amendment text is printed in these ballot materials.

The Albany Unified School District is governed by a Board of Education consisting of five members elected by the voters. Board members normally are elected to four-year terms. Currently, the Charter provides that any person who has been elected to two successive terms as a member of the Board of Education is not eligible to serve again as a Board member until a period of two years has elapsed after the end of that person's second term. This measure would remove this limitation on the number of consecutive terms an individual could serve as a member of the Board of Education. A Board member could be elected to a new term after the effective date of this measure, even if that person had just completed two consecutive terms.

A “Yes” vote is a vote in favor of removing term limits for Board of Education Members. A “No” vote is a vote against removing those term limits. This measure will be approved if a majority of the votes cast on it are “Yes” votes.

DATED: July 22, 2016


Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Research into effective school boards shows that stability of the Board of Education is very important for good governance. The typical member of an effective school board serves for ten years or more, allowing the member to gain expertise in educational policy, school finance, school administration, labor relations, and the body of California law that applies to schools. A school board member who earns the public’s trust and is reelected for several terms can become more effective with experience and can provide institutional memory about decisions made years ago that may affect issues being considered today.

School boards in California rarely have term limits. Unlike most California school districts, Albany Unified operates under the city charter, which limits school board members to only two consecutive four-year terms. When good board members are termed out, we lose valuable experience and expertise from the board. Many election years, it is hard to find enough candidates to run for the empty seats on the board.

After considerable research and reflection, the current school board has agreed unanimously that it would be in the best interest of Albany schools to eliminate term limits for the school board. To prove the sincerity of this belief, the proposed amendment to the city charter doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2023, AFTER EVERY CURRENT MEMBER OF THE SCHOOL BOARD HAS BEEN TERMED OUT and is not eligible to run for another consecutive term. Furthermore, even if this amendment passes, every member of the board will still have to run for reelection every four years.

To help keep the Albany school district strong for the next generation of students, please vote to eliminate term limits for future Albany school boards.

—Nick Pilch, Albany City Council Member
—Ron Rosenbaum, President, Albany Unified School District Board of Education
—Paul Black, Vice President, Albany Unified School District Board of Education


— Alameda County Registrar of Voters

Arguments AGAINST

Albany’s term limits have served our community well for more than 40 years. They are not broken, and they don’t need to be fixed.

Under our current plan, Board members may serve an UNLIMITED number of four-year terms. After serving a maximum of eight consecutive years, elected officials must take a two-year sabbatical. Then they may run again and again, serving 16 years out of 18, 24 years out of 28, etc. Albany’s term limits are very generous to incumbents. They also provide opportunity for non-incumbents to get elected.

Term limits apply to both the Board of Education and to Council. Council has no interest in ending term limits for itself.

It’s important to know that a Board member’s role is neither managerial nor technical. A Board member doesn’t need to spend years gaining expertise in arcane aspects of the district’s business. Those are roles of the superintendent and staff. The Board member’s job is to provide policy direction and represent the values and interests of Albany’s diverse community. After a few years of experience, most Board members are effective in their job.

School boards function best when the Board members represent a vairety of perspectives, and when some have children at various grades in our schools. The experience of a kindergarten parent is vastly different from that of a high school parent. Without term limits, the Board is must more likely to be dominated by incumbents, and eventually by those who no longer have children in Albany schools.

Albany’s excellent schools were created in part by the many residents who were able to be elected, and took the time to serve. Term limits encourage this. They are a tradition that deserves to be maintained. Vote NO on Measure S1.

—Michael Barnes, Council Member and Former School Board Member
—Joyce A Jackson, Parent, Former Mayor
—Allan Maris, Former Mayor and Former School Board Member
—David Farrell, Former School Board President
—Farid Javandel, Former Mayor


— Alameda County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments FOR

The desire of current school board members to eliminate term limits is based on a misunderstanding of how our term limits work.

Their argument states, “Albany Unified operates under the city charter, which limits school board members to only two consecutive four-year terms.” That is misleading. School board members are eligible to serve an unlimited number of four-year terms. All that is required is that they take a break of at least two years after every eight years of consecutive service. Incumbent expertise is not lost.

A break every eight years has real benefits. It lets outgoing board members relax and recharge. It also creates openings for new board members and the fresh ideas they bring. It’s no coincidence that this election year, with no incumbents running, there are four candidates for two open seats on the school board.

Current school board members want to prove their sincerity by not having term limits eliminated until January 1, 2023, claiming none would be eligible to run before then. But under out existing term limits, three current board members will be eligible to run again before January 1, 2023.

During the 41 years since Albany voters approved term limits, the school district has achieved a well-deserved reputation for excellence. Albany’s term limits have played a part in that success because they strike the right balance between stability and change. Our current term limits are working well. They should be retained.

Please vote NO on Measure S1.

—Michael Barnes, City Council Member, Former School Board Member
—Allan Maris, Former Board of Education, Former Albany Mayor
—Jim Lindsay, Former School Board Member
—David Farrell, Former School Board Member
—Margaret Stanzione, Albany Resident


— Alameda County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

The long-term success of school districts as measured by student success depends on high-impact governance by the superintendent, who oversees operations, and the school board, which sets annual and long-term goals.

Effective school boards, in partnership with the superintendent, make strategic decisions, select key district innovation targets, monitor district educational performance, and make decisions that align district systems and resources to ensure long-term fiscal stability. This requires a school board to gain knowledge in all aspects of running a school district. The Board sets the direction for student achievement and has ultimate responsibility for finance, facilities, human resources, educational policies, collective bargaining, advocacy, community relations, and judicial review.

School board term limits create an impediment to positive high-impact governance. The school board must be able to examine any issue from historical, educational, and societal perspectives and understand how it relates to the district’s vision and strategic goals. It takes time to foster and nurture school district and community relationships. Even a short “sabbatical” of two years can cause a gap in historical perspective and can destabilize an otherwise focused governance team.

Research indicates that the educational effectiveness of a school system depends on continuity of service—not total length of service—of the governance team. Please help ensure the continued excellence and stability of Albany schools by voting YES on this charter amendment.

—Val Williams, Superintendent, Albany Unified School District
—Ron Rosenbaum, President, Albany Unified School District Board of Education
—Paul Black, Vice President, Albany Unified School District Board of Education


— Alameda County Registrar of Voters

Read the proposed legislation

Proposed legislation

The people of the City of Albany modify Section 6.02 of the City Charter to read as follows:


Any person who shall have been elected to two (2) successive terms as a member of the Board of Education shall be ineligible to serve again in that office until an intervening period of two (2) years has elapsed. Election to an unexpired term pursuant to Section 6.01 (f) of this Charter shall constitute election to a term as a member of the Board. This section shall not operate to create a vacancy or vacancies on the Board as constituted on the effective date of this section. This Section shall be of no further force or effect as of January 1, 2023. (Added, ratified, April 15, 1975)

More information

Events (7)

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