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Knowledge is Power

Donna Oser

By Donna Oser, MASB Director of Leadership Development and Executive Search Services

DashBoard, Jan. 14, 2015

Intermediate school district boards of education that hold elections under Section 614 of the Revised School Code were not affected by Public Act 233 of 2011, which moved popular school elections to even years in November. Section 614 elections for ISD school boards are still held biennially on the first Monday in June at a meeting of representatives from constituent boards of education. In 2015, the elections will be held on June 1.

Resolution Designating Representative

Under Section 614, a constituent school board must designate its representative for the election meeting by adopting a resolution not earlier than 21 days prior to the date of the election. May 11 is the earliest date that a board may designate its representative in 2015. The board must consider the resolution at not less than one public meeting before adopting the resolution.

The resolution must also identify the candidate the constituent board supports for each position to be filled on the ISD board as well as direct the representative to vote for the candidate(s) at least on the first ballot taken at the meeting.

Election Meeting

The meeting of the representatives must be an open meeting conducted in a manner prescribed under the Open Meetings Act.

The secretary of the ISD board is required to notify the secretary of each constituent school district of the location and time of the meeting at least 10 days before the meeting. The notice must be sent by certified mail.

The county clerk serving as the ISD’s filing official is responsible for preparing the ballots needed for the meeting.

The chairperson of the meeting may accept nominations for an available position “from the floor” if no candidates filed for the position.

Nominating Petitions

The first few board meetings after newly elected school board members assume their seats can be daunting for new and experienced school board members alike.

First-time board members may feel intimidated or overwhelmed by the responsibility, the complexities of governing a school district or conducting a meeting in public (or even scarier – on T.V.!). Experienced board members may feel uneasy having lost the hard-won cohesiveness of a board that worked well together and long for the skills and strategies to forge a strong, new governance team.

Now is an excellent time to develop a personal learning plan.

Your personal learning plan should be designed to meet your specific learning needs. First, assess what you know and identify the areas in which you’d like to deepen your understanding. This will vary widely from board member to board member and span topics from parliamentary procedure and labor negotiations to student achievement.

Next, meet with someone (like your board president or superintendent) who can help you prioritize what you’ll need to know when.

Then, scan the environment for credible sources for your learning. This will include reputable publications, trainings, organizations and individuals, as well as both formal (classes and seminars) and informal (conversations and blogs) learning opportunities.

Last, pencil your learning plan into your calendar and commit to it. A few terrific sources of learning include:

The benefits of the knowledge and skills you acquire as a school board member will extend into the personal and professional aspects of your life. And, equally important, as your school board member knowledge and skills grow, those board meetings will be far less stressful and far more productive!

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