Becoming a School Board Member
Quick Facts About Board Membership
Board members must:
- Be elected by the voters in the District or be appointed by the County Superintendent of Schools.
- Reside within the legal boundaries of the School District and have lived in the District for at least one year immediately preceding the day of election.
- Be a registered voter.
Board members cannot be, or have a spouse who is, an employee of the District when assuming office or during the term of office.
Board members cannot serve simultaneously on more than one School District Governing Board.
Finally, a person who has an immediate family member sitting on a School District Governing Board and who has shared the same household of residence with that family member within four years prior to the election is ineligible to be a candidate for nomination or election to that Governing Board if the Governing Board is composed of five members, unless the immediate family member is serving in the last year of a term of office; persons related as immediate family who have the same household of residence within four years prior are also ineligible to be simultaneous candidates for nomination or election to the Governing Board of the same School District if the Governing Board is composed of five members.
The position is unpaid, though some expenses may be reimbursed.
School Board members have no individual authority over school matters. The authority of a Board member includes expressing an opinion and casting a vote as a part of the Governing Board in a Board meeting.
Other Commonly Asked Questions About Board Service
How often does a School Board meet?
It varies. Boards must meet at least once a month during the school year. Many Boards regularly meet twice a month year round and call special meetings as needed.
Will I get paid?
No. Members may be reimbursed for travel and subsistence expenses for authorized school purposes.
As a Board member, can I be held personally liable for legal claims against the Board or the School District?
As a general rule, no. By State law, Governing Board members cannot be held liable for actions taken in good faith and within the scope of their authority. Boards also may receive legal counsel to advise them, and the liability insurance of most, if not all, organizations covers Board members who are acting in their official capacity. A Governing Board member is not immune from liability, however, if he or she:
- Acts outside the scope of authority;
- Knows (or should have known) that an action violates a person's constitutional rights;
- Engages in criminal activity;
- Commits an intentional tort, such as assault, or
- Violates the open meeting or conflict of interest laws.
Can my company do business with the School District if I am a Board member?
Yes, but a Board member cannot vote on matters in which he or she has a conflict of interest, and, in most circumstances, a Board member's company may seek only contracts offered by competitive bidding. The conflict of interest restrictions applicable to Governing Board members vary if the District's enrollment is greater or less than 3,000 students.
What happens if I move out of the District while I hold office?
Governing Board members must reside in their District to hold office. When notified that a member has moved from the District, the County Superintendent can fill the vacancy by appointment or by calling a special election.