Crafton to push for term limits for School Board members

Monday, March 24, 2008 at 2:41am

In an election year in which two long-time school board members are expected to seek a return to their seats, Metro Councilman Eric Crafton — who’s a potential school board candidate — says he’ll sign a bill proposal tomorrow that could lead to limited terms for Board of Education members.

School board members can currently serve unlimited consecutive terms. Crafton, however, wants board members to follow the same rules as Metro Council members and the vice mayor — those individuals may serve up to four terms, but no more than two consecutively.

“The school board was added to the charter,” Crafton said Friday. “We just need to bring everybody in line in Metro.”

The bill would ask the Tennessee legislature to pass a law limiting the terms of Davidson County school board members according to the rules followed by Metro Council members and the vice mayor.

Crafton said he has legislative support for the bill.

If Crafton follows through, the bill would be added to Metro Council’s agenda Tuesday and could reach Council as early as the April 1 scheduled meeting.

This August, school board seats occupied by the board’s two most senior members — Ed Kindall and George Thompson — will be up for election. Kindall has been on the board since 1985, and Thompson since 1996. Neither Kindall nor Thompson have officially submitted qualifications to run for re-election, though both have picked up petitions from the Davidson County Election Commission.

Crafton has picked up papers to run for the District 9 school board seat currently held by board chair Marsha Warden. Warden has been in office for two terms, and Crafton has stated publicly that it would be fair for her to voluntarily follow the rules Council members follow.

Though Crafton is supporting the bill, there are plenty of arguments for allowing school board members to stick around for a long time, namely that overseeing Metro Nashville Public Schools requires a high degree of specialized knowledge and that progress in public schools takes a long time to implement.

“[Term limits] would further, in my opinion, reduce the institutional memory and continuum of knowledge of what the foundations [are] for many of the proposals and activities of the school board,” board member Thompson said Friday.

Thompson said the board already suffers from the term limitations imposed by the Educational Improvement Act of 1992. Metro charter, Thompson said, allows school board members to serve six-year terms. The EIA had the effect of shortening those terms to four years.

“It opens the door, conceivably, to a lot of outside influences,” Thompson said.

Thompson and Kindall are currently the only two board members – other than Gracie Porter – to have no potential opponents to date. The deadline for all potential candidates to file with the Election Commission is April 3. The general election is slated for Aug. 7.

Crafton has not officially submitted qualifications necessary to run — and if he does, he must immediately step down from his Council seat — but said Friday that he is still “leaning in the direction” of running for school board.

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By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

We would be better served by eliminating the school board which delutes any responsibility for incometant behavior and has a bunch of amatuers running a 600 million dollar operation.

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 6:00

If Crafton were elected to the School Board, THEN term limits would be a very good thing. Typical that he is pushing for something that would eliminate his competition from a potential race.Hopefully he'll run, give up his council seat and then lose the school board election. Then good riddance!! Surely the people in his district (except Anna3) will see the irony in electing a moron who is against public education to the school board.

By: nashpar on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Crafton again making headlines. Its all about publicity. If you look at this, it makes no sense because going through the legislature would make this a statewide issue and to my knowledge there is no one proposing such in the other counties. Council is term limited by referendum vote, if he wants to do that then do it the same way then and don't impose it to other areas of the state that don't have people fighting against one another.

By: TC37212 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Warden is now finishing her FIRST term. Not that she needs another, but you guys should really be more careful with your facts.

By: WrdBrn on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Term limits dilute the responsibility of the citizen to week old dishwater. As to the matter of Eric Crafton - he most certainly does not need his fingers in that much taxpayer money; look at the mess the Bellevue mall is in ... he and his friend at the Westview were directly responsible for that area not developing as it should have. As to the amateurs on the School Board - those who so quickly throw stones should run for a term. A Government of, for, and by the people is a hugely important premise!

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Get yours here:http://www.cafepress.com/nocrapton

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 6:00

TC, I stand corrected, part of my prior post was based on information in the article.

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Fundit, I would order a ten pack if I lived in that district!

By: BellevueMom on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Once again, the Nashville City Paper proves it is a Crafton Mouthpiece. If Crafton runs, there will be no need for him to ever purchase ad space in the NCP....his ads run as "news stories". The NCP fails to mention any of the other candidates who have picked up petitions in District 9. I believe there are three, although I do not have their names readily available. NCP---all Crafton, all the time.

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 6:00

They're all off today, I would bet so you're speaking to the air!

By: dogmrb on 12/31/69 at 6:00

TC: It's obvious there is much misinformation about the School Board, the complexity of running a public school system, and running for public office. Eric Crafton works hard to produce misinformation. He is a liar using statistics and reporters need to be better fact checkers if the NCP wants the facts.

By: BellevueMom on 12/31/69 at 6:00

From Rex Noseworthy's column today: Another wounded duckCouncilman Eric Crafton’s strange memorializing resolution asking the Davidson County delegation to the General Assembly to tie driving privileges to progress toward high school graduation was mercifully withdrawn at the Council meeting last Tuesday.The legislation was deferred three times and shot down in the Education committee with a 5-0 vote.Rex noticed that Metro Ch. 3 didn’t quite capture the visceral reaction on the Council floor where various members rolled their eyes demonstratively while Crafton was speaking.You’ll remember this is the same Crafton whose English-first bill went down in flames. And the same Crafton with an eye on a school board seat. So, I stand corrected--not everyone at NCP is part of the Crafton lovefest. And certainly his peers on the Council see through his Headline-Seeking Shenanigans. Hopefully, my neighbors in District 9 will do the same if he does more then "lean in the direction" of running for the school board. Our kids don't need a Headline Grabber.

By: TC37212 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

TfT, my "be more careful with facts" comment was directed at NCP. not you.

By: dogmrb on 12/31/69 at 6:00

While the fact is correct that Marsha Warden was elected in 2004 and has only served one term, I would bet she believes it has been as long a four terms. It's been a tought four years for Metro Schools.

By: artsmart on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Please someone tell me anything positive the School Board has done for the School System.. My experience is that they are just another do nothing roadblock. They are just another layer of duck and cover and Marsha is one of the worst.

By: Anna3 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

TC37212 and Time for no teeth...Warden was appointed and served out more than half of a term where the person who occupied the seat resigned. Warden then ran for and served a full term, so some of us look at it as if she has had two terms to accomplish something. Rather than give the NCP readers incomplete FACTS, I wanted to clear up the assertions you are making. Bellevue Mom has been a Crafton hater as has Time for Truth for as long as I can remember...They seem to really have no credibility here when it comes to putting the interest of our children ahead of their personal grudges. Would either of you tell me what exactly Marsha Warden has done that makes you love her so much...other than the fact that she is not Eric Crafton?

By: Anna3 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

artsmart...you are abolutely correct...this is a do nothing board that rubber stamped EVERYTHING Dr. Garcia wanted for five years, and NEVER demanded any sort of acountability....and when Garcia's system failed, they had NO ONE to blame but themselves and their inattention to the true facts before them. This system DID NOT fail overnight...from the BEGINNING of Garcia's tenure, we knew where the benchmark test scores showed our system stood...and EVERY YEAR sice then...the same benchmarks show us falling further and further behind. Warden and others on this board did the unthinkable...they NOT ONLY failed to hold Garcia accountable, they PROTECTED him and gave him a contract extention ONLY A YEAR AGO! Warden seems to believe that her job is more of a social position to "gadfly" about town and glad hand with the public than to truly get educational results for our children. I think Warden enjoyed the social connections to being seen with Garcia et al. We have before US a real life example of the difference between a person (Warden) who wants to be elected to "Be somebody" versus a person that wants to be elected because they can use the job to "Get something done"! Warden has shown a severe lack of critical thinking skills while sitting on this board.

By: TC37212 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Anna3, Marsha Warden won her seat on the first Tuesday in August, 2004. Christina Norris preceded her. Below is a link showing that Chris Norris was still a board member on August 10, 2004, after Warden won her seat. Perhaps Warden took her seat a week or two early due to Norris' resignation, but she did not serve as interim and then run for the seat. She took the seat after her one and only time on the ballot. She has served one term on the board.http://www.mnps.org/AssetFactory.aspx?did=13919

By: BellevueMom on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Anna3 - you must have a very short memory then because this is only the second or possibly third day that I have ever posted. I just registered as a member on the NCP forums around March 12th. Further, I have never said anything to validate your assertion that I "love her so much"--I simply do not seen Eric Crafton do anything positive in any of the three Bellevue schools that my own children attend. ALL that I have seen him do--is run down our schools. He is a great TALKER - but not strong on ACTION. What can you point to, Anna, that Mr. Crafton has actually done -- other than talk -- that has been of benefit to the schools of District 9?

By: artsmart on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Here's the problem, There is more than 3 schools in Metro. They are supposed to do the right thing for the entire School System. Once again tell me anything that this School Board has done in a positive or proactive manner for the School System. Watching them on channel 3 is like watching the old high school clique.

By: dogmrb on 12/31/69 at 6:00

A couple of "former" Board members, namely Ms Harkey and Dr. Awipi, tried over and over to show that test score progress was not being made. They were voted out of office for not having "faith" that Dr. Garcia and Dr. Johnson's plan would work. Ms. Warden was a Garcia follower and Mr. Crafton is just a nativist. Please District 9 find a thoughtful, experienced person to run for School Board.

By: BellevueMom on 12/31/69 at 6:00

There are a lot of constraints in place from the National and State Govt.--as well as the Teachers Union. Then there are the annual budgeting issues that (rightfully) arise with Metro Council. My hope is that whoever runs and is ultimately elected from District 9 has spent time gaining a clear understanding of these constraints--not just by reading about them or voicing his/her opinion about them--but actually getting out and seeing how they affect the core constituancy groups within our schools. Some of the five people who have picked up petitions to run for the District 5 seat have done so--I have never seen or heard about Eric Crafton spending time working with or finding out how to work within the constraints to the benefits of our kids -- or even better -- how to get rid or modify some of them!

By: artsmart on 12/31/69 at 6:00

BellevueMom, I will contact Mr. Crafton and make sure he checks in with you to make sure his ideas are acceptable. Please just be honest, you like the current status quo, just say it. I do not know what Mr Crafton or anyone that will run would stand for, but the current cast of characters are pathetic. I speak from experience after trying to work with them.

By: BellevueMom on 12/31/69 at 6:00

LOL Art..nice. There are some changes that definitely need to be made--but change just for the sake of change doesn't make sense. And changing to Crafton just because he knows how to get in the headlines?? Um..well..hmm...NOPE. By the way, I haven't heard ideas coming from Mr. Crafton - just complaints about the schools. And, it isn't just his ideas I'll be interested in hearing--it is how he plans to implement them. Further, it wouldn't just be me he has to "check in with"--it is the entire district--or at least the few thousands of people (sadly) that will get out and vote during this election.

By: dogmrb on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Service on the School Board is brutal. You Bellevue,Sylvan Park, West Meade, District 9 folks just find someone who can stay in the kitchen with the heat and not melt.

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Two moronic suggestions by Eric Crafton in the same issue of the paper: If he worked a bit more, he could make the hat trick.As for the School Board, it is easy to claim that they do nothing. Simply maintaining as complex a school system as Davidson County’s is serious work. I am not a fan of this School Board, but I would like to see the critics make some positive suggestions.Complaining about test scores masks the fact that using standardized tests to measure educational progress is a joke. Blaming the teacher’s union is also blaming a straw man, and doing so ignorantly. Teaching & public school education are better—not worse—because of teacher’s unions.I agree w/ BelleMom that THE CITY PAPER continues to serve as Crafton’s house organ. I cannot see the reason. Perhaps a steady diet of Michael Reagan’s columns has softened its collective brain.

By: BellevueMom on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Amen to both Dogmrb and MJB...especially since a high percentage of the residents with school age children in District 9 have bailed out of public schools in favor of private---only to sit back then and complain about how Metro Schools are "rotten" to the core. Well--jump in and help. If you get pushed away from one school with "attitude

By: WrdBrn on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The article ... well this one is about the validity of term limits. Again, I will restate: term limits dilute the responsibility of the citizen to week old dishwater. As to the matter of Eric Crafton - he most certainly does not need his fingers in that much taxpayer money; look at the mess the Bellevue mall is in ... he and his friend at the Westview were directly responsible for that area not developing as it should have. As to the NCP being a free pulpit - they are a public mouth piece for more than Crafton - take Tony Girrantara for instance. Let other school board candidates get savvy and call the news staff and offer to always accept the call to add their 2 cents to an article. We (johnqpublic) must not hang them on every word they utter. Information changes. Being able to change your mind based on new information regarding an old problem is one of the marks of the mature or educated mind. EGADS.... TERM LIMITS dilute the responsibility of the citizen to week old dishwater!!!

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Anna3, I am wondering if your last name is Crafton or you're just a 'Warden hater'. I have no personal opinion of Mr. Crafton, I just see him constantly making a nincompoop of himself on the Local Access Channel, and have seen the hilarious body of legislative 'work' he has produced-mostly as described in this paper. Plus he never met a developer he didn't like, being one himself, the needs of the community he represents be d@mned.Crafton's presence on council is an amusing diversion, with enough good people to keep him in check and enough fellow idiots to keep it entertaining. On the school board, an anti-public school board member who can't complete a sentence successfully would not be funny.

By: dogmrb on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I assume you must mean weak old dishwater or else two week old dishwater. Which ever, I agree that the public doesn't understand that the career employee bureaucrats have the upper hand if elected officials are limited to two terms since their service is part-time with minimum pay. There is no incentive for elected officials, except absolute power, to learn the complexities of the state and federal law and policy in such a short time span.

By: BellevueMom on 12/31/69 at 6:00

ahh Wrd...citizen responsibility. There's a topic, eh? Your point on Term Limits is spot-on. Have a great night all!

By: WrdBrn on 12/31/69 at 6:00

OH my... I am a Nashville Resident for 33 years.. My husband and his family are 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation Davidson and "doughnut" county families. Do I actually hear some people with no understanding of what we have been through with the nincompoop Crafton? Look about 7% of Americans put George Junior in the White House. I bet that say conversationally 5000 citizens put Crafton where he is, when there are some 20000 voters in his district. Thankyou Bellevue Mom! Crafton and his cronies have stifled Bellevue to the point ... my husbands family lost major property and development rights to the shenanigans out that way. Eric and the Westview family pull more of the strings than some of the newer residents know! OH hhhhhh I need to get another cup of tea....