NEW BRITAIN - The Board of Education voted Monday to change its bylaws to increase bipartisanship.
The board voted 7-2 Monday on a bylaw change that will require that the president and vice president of the board not be from the same political party. Daisy Sanchez and Gayle Sanders-Connolly voted against the amendment, while Merrill Gay was not present.
The addition to the bylaws reads, “The president and the vice president of the board shall not be nominated or elected from the same political party.”
The revision also says that the board’s secretary can be from any party.
While the amendment won a 5-3 majority in a vote taken at a meeting last month, the motion failed because a two-thirds majority is needed to change bylaws.
Board of Education President Nicholas Mercier said the amendment was brought up again because many board members weren’t present at the earlier meeting and several members had inquired about the amendment since.
In October, Sharon Beloin-Saavedra spoke in favor of the measure, citing the compromise between her and Mercier when the board was split evenly along party lines two years ago as evidence of the board’s bipartisanship.
Beloin-Saavedra, a Democrat, was president while Mercier, a Republican, was vice president. The two agreed that, because the board was split 5-5, the parties would share the presidency for two years, swapping positions after a year. That has happened, with Mercier acting as president and Rodriguez, a Democrat, acting as the board’s vice president.
“I think the board functions as well as we do because partisanship is removed from the decision-making process,” Beloin-Saavedra said Monday night, echoing her previous sentiments.
In other news Monday, the Board of Education said goodbye to two members: Beloin-Saavedra and Miriam Geraci.
Beloin-Saavedra is retiring from the board after serving for 12 years. Geraci is running for Common Council.