Precedent Exists for Commissioner Mike Brown’s Term Limit for School Board Proposal

Knox County Commissioner Mike Brown of South Knox County brought a proposal to the Knox County Commission in April that would have asked that the Knox County School Board Members be subject to the Knox County Charter’s Term Limit provision.


There is precedent for Knox County School Board to be subjected to a different requirement than the other 130 +/- school boards across the state. Back in 1996, Diane Dozier was successful in gaining a seat on the Knox County School Board without a majority vote of the Seventh District. Thus, permissive legislation was filed in Nashville that would require any School Board candidate that does not receive 1 vote more than 50% the two top candidates must run off in the General Election. All other elected school boards in the State of Tennessee only a simple majority elects members.

Since the law went into effect, there have been three run offs. In 2004, a runoff between Respected Educator Patsy Vittatoe and Indya Kincannon. In 2006, a runoff between Thomas Deakins and H. Lee Martin and in 2008, a runoff between Doug Harris and Gina Oster.

In 2006, former School Board Member Sam Anderson was reelected to a third term. In 2008, School Board Members Indya Kincannon and Caren Karson were reelected to third terms. In spite of the other representative legislative bodies (City Council and County Commission) being subjected to term limits.

Because Knox County requires a runoff election while all other school boards do not. Knox County has precedent for the legislature to pass permissive legislation to allow Knox County voters to decide if School Board Members should be term limited.

Here is the first article about Commissioner Brown’s proposal. Here is the article that explains that the Commission wants State Rep. Ryan Haynes to act as King Solomon in cutting the baby in half to appease the School Board and the County Commission. Here is the news story from WATE about the issue. Interestingly, the Editor at the Big Metal Shed on the Hill editorialized his support for School Board term limits, here. Last year, when Kincannon and Karson were seeking third terms. The Editor endorsed them. Now, he wants them term limited. I guess Shock And Awe won him over. Because Shock And Awe has reported and editorialized about term limits for Knox County School Board members many times. Here is one example from 2006.

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