Two years after reducing its number of members from nine to six, the Beatrice Public Schools Board of Education voted on Monday night to again change its member count.

A resolution, which passed unanimously, will add a seventh member to the board starting in January of 2019.

After a discussion at the Board of Education’s committee of the whole meeting in August, the board decided to move forward with its plan to increase the number to seven.

The decision is due to a change in Nebraska state statutes, said Superintendent Pat Nauroth.

“This came about because, when we originally changed from a nine-member board, the only option we had available was whether to look at a six-member or five-member board,” Nauroth said. “We did not want to go to a five, so we went to a six-member board. That statute has been changed and the board is now able to move to seven members.”

The new statute says that a Class III school district—a district with between 1,001 and 99,000 inhabitants—can adopt a resolution in an odd-numbered year to change the number of school board members anywhere from a minimum of five members to a maximum of nine members.

The new member will be elected during the statewide general election in November of next year and will start with the board in January of 2019.

The rationale for adding another member to the board, Nauroth said, is that it will help eliminate tie votes and facilitate better functioning.

In December 2013, when the school board decided to reduce the number of members from nine to six, it was due in part to the board’s difficulty in having enough members present to form a quorum.

With one board member considering resigning, another’s potential move out of the district looming and current board member Steve Winter’s health issues at that time, being able to have the five members necessary for a quorum was proving difficult. Lowering the number to six meant only four members needed to be present for a quorum.

The resolution was approved unanimously with five votes to zero, with board member Nancy Sedlacek absent.

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