Cinta Supports Adding 7th Seat to Lakeville School Board

Have you seen these signs popping up around town? Yes, 7 is BEST! The rapid growth of Lakeville and the fact that the board has 6 seats often leads to tie votes, make the case for adding an additional seat to the Lakeville School Board.

Below is a letter to the editor published on July 1, 2021 in the Sun This week regarding the need for an additional School Board Seat that provides some of the reasons Lakeville should have a 7 Member Board.

To the editor:

Lakeville is a large and rapidly growing community, with an expanding student population and, consequently, more schools under the District 194 School Board’s oversight. More kids, more schools and bigger budgets all make the case for a larger board to help navigate the issues that accompany growth.

Adding a seventh seat puts us in good company with our neighboring school districts. All the surrounding districts, with the exception of Farmington, have seven seats on their school board. And this is true whether the district is larger, such as Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan or smaller, as is the case with Burnsville-Eagan-Savage.

Intuitively it is easy to see that an odd number of members prevents tie votes, which has occurred from time to time with Lakeville’s current six-seat board. These ties could prevent the board from taking timely action on important issues in the future.

But having an odd number of seats is even more important than preventing tie votes. A 2013 article in the Journal of Philanthropy published the results of a study that looked at 12,000 boards over a 10-year period.

Researchers found that boards with an odd number of members made better decisions and performed better on a variety of performance metrics. Researchers believe this has to do with the fact that odd numbered boards remove what they called the “conformity incentive.”

Adding a seventh School Board seat should not be a political issue. The issue of adding an additional seat enjoys bipartisan support of Lakeville parents and is supported by five former School Board members.

Ultimately, the question of whether there should be a seventh seat and who should fill that seat is a question that would be decided by Lakeville voters with an equal opportunity for all Lakeville residents to get involved.

Adding an additional seat is a small but important step in helping to ensure a vibrant future for Lakeville schools. For these reasons, I urge the School Board to place this issue on the November ballot for consideration by Lakeville residents.

Michelle Pine

Lakeville Resident

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