Rep. Baumbach to Rework Proposal Establishing Process to Remove School Board Members

NEWARK – In light of recent criminal charges filed against a sitting Colonial School District board member, Rep. Paul Baumbach announced Monday that he would rework and file legislation to allow for the removal of public school board members.

Currently, there is no provision or mechanism to remove a school board member for any reason – unless the member chooses to resign. In 2017, Rep. Baumbach drafted legislation – which he did not file – that would have established a process for removing a sitting school board member.

“State legislators, judges and even the governor can be removed from office through an established process,” said Rep. Baumbach, D-Newark North. “In the General Assembly, we have an ethics process that allows the chamber to censure or discipline members, in addition to removing them from office. These are not processes that should be taken lightly, but they exist as a way to ensure that someone who violates the public trust is held accountable.”

Rep. Baumbach’s previous proposal would have given the State Board of Education the power to remove a public school board member from their post and established a hearing process for the state board to follow.

“There were concerns raised about that original idea, which is why I didn’t file that bill,” Rep. Baumbach said. “But the simple fact remains that school board members are a rarity in that they are elected to five-year terms and there is no mechanism to discipline or remove for just cause, short of a felony conviction.

“I intend to look at various processes, both inside and outside of Delaware, and talk to different groups to create a process that is fair, flexible and appropriate.”