How to Become a School Board Candidate

Brad Banasik

By Brad Banasik, MASB Legal Counsel/Director of Labor Relations & Policy

DashBoard, May 18, 2016

If you’re considering running for your local school board, or if you’re currently serving on the school board and plan to seek reelection, now is the time to start thinking about filing your paperwork for becoming a school board candidate. For the Nov. 8, 2016 election, the filing deadline is July 26, 2016. This means that nominating petitions (or filing fees) and affidavits of identity must be filed no later than 4 p.m. on July 26.

School board candidates have the option of filing a nominating petition or paying a filing fee of $100 to have their name listed as a school board candidate on an election ballot. If paid by the appropriate due date, the filing fee has the same effect as filing a nominating petition. If a nominating petition is filed, the candidate’s petition must contain a minimum of six signatures if the population of the school district is less than 10,000 citizens. If the population of the district is 10,000 or more, the candidate’s petition must contain a minimum of 40 signatures.

In addition to filing a petition or a fee, a candidate must also file two copies of an affidavit of identity. This is a written document that verifies the candidate’s identity and address. The completed form must be signed and sworn before a person having authority to administer an oath, such as a notary public. Candidates who fail to file this form are ineligible to appear on the ballot.

Both the petition (if filed) and affidavit of identity must indicate the term of office that the candidate is pursuing. Thus, candidates should be aware of the terms of office that are up for election. For example, if there was a recent vacancy on the school board, there might be a two-year term that is up for election. If that’s the case, candidates seeking election to that term must designate in their petitions and affidavits of identity that they’re running for a partial term expiring on Dec. 31, 2018.

A school district’s election coordinator is responsible for receiving filing fees, nominating petitions and affidavits of identity from school board candidates. The blank petition and affidavit of identity forms are also available at the election coordinator’s office. The election coordinator can also assist with answering questions relating to signature requirements for nominating petitions and the specific terms of office that are up for election.

In most cases, the school district election coordinator will be the county clerk. However, if a school district’s entire territory lies within a single city or township, the city or township clerk will be the school district election coordinator. Additionally, a county clerk may delegate the duty of receiving filing fees, nominating petitions and affidavits of identity to a city or township clerk. To ensure that their paperwork is filed with the appropriate official, school board candidates should check with their local board of education office for information on who has been designated as the school district’s election coordinator or delegated the responsibilities of the election coordinator.

If you have any questions about school board elections or the legal requirements of becoming a school board candidate, please contact the MASB Legal Department at [email protected] or 517.327.5900.

The Get on Board campaign is underway and we need your help! Resources have been posted on the MASB website and the list will continue to grow up until the filing deadline of July 26. There are materials on how to recruit, what makes an effective board member and even videos to help spark interest. Our Candidate’s Guide to School Board Elections also is available for purchase in our Online Store. Please encourage those you think would be a good fit for school board service to Get on Board!

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