|DEAR PROSPECTIVE BOARD CANDIDATE:
The decision to run for your local school board is one to which much thought and consideration must be given. Serving as a board member is one of the most important responsibilities that a citizen can undertake. If elected, the educational standards which you, together with your fellow board members, establish will affect the future of the students, the community, and society. Being a board member is a complex and varied position, and often is frustrating as you struggle long hours with difficult choices. However, it is also rewarding, as you watch students succeed and go on to lead productive lives as the result of educational opportunities you helped to create.
According to Minnesota law, "the care, management, and control of independent districts shall be vested in a board of directors, to be known as the school board." There are certain implications in being responsible for the entire district which you may want to consider. Decisions need to reflect what is in the best interest of all students and all citizens. This demands a constant effort and strong commitment to serving other people.
If you are willing to devote your time and talents to meeting these challenges, your state school boards association applauds your decision to run for election and wishes you the best of luck. We are ready and willing to serve you.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
The Minnesota School Boards Association and your local board of education are pleased to provide the general public with this guide to public school governance. For further information about the policies and procedures of your local school board, contact the superintendent of schools or the chair of the local school board.
A GUIDE FOR PROSPECTIVE CANDIDATES
How to Become a Candidate
School board members in Minnesota are elected officials. All districts hold their elections at the General Election in November. State law permits districts the option of holding their election in either the even year or odd year. Members are elected for a four-year term, with at least three members elected each election. With few exceptions, all board members are elected at-large.
The filing period for school board elections is not more than ten nor less than eight weeks before the election. Each candidate must file an affidavit of candidacy with the school district clerk. The filing fee is $2.00.
All candidates are required to complete a Campaign Financial Report within seven days of the election. This report indicates whether a candidate has either received $750 in campaign contributions or expended $750 toward being elected.
Vacancies caused by resignation, death, etc., are filled by an appointment process conducted by the remaining board members.
What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of the School Board?
The major function of the school board is to provide leadership, policy development, policy oversight, and communication. This is usually accomplished by adopting policies which the administrators and staff carry out.
Areas for which the board is responsible for policy include but are not limited to:
- Educational program development and monitoring
- Student assessment
- Student support services
- Employee relations including hiring, in-service, and evaluation
- Instructional materials
- Facility use
- Extracurricular activities
- Board operations
Other Board roles include:
The qualities of leadership that have been identified are: integrity, perseverance, commitment, ability to plan, vision, initiative, and courage. Effective board members share a number of these characteristics and are also able to work as a team member.
- Budget adoption, revenue management, and expenditure authorization
- Superintendent selections, contract, and evaluation
- Long range planning
- Ratifying collective bargaining agreements
- Care and maintenance of facilities
- Public relations
- Legislative involvement
Who Is Eligible?
In order to be eligible to be elected or appointed to a Minnesota school board, one must be:
What Makes a Good Board Member?
- At least 21 years old
- A resident of the district for at least 30 days prior to the election or appointment
- An eligible voter
Effective school board members share a number of common characteristics, but it's important to realize they did not become effective the instant they were elected. Many qualities are acquired through experience and are important to consider:
- A conviction that public education is important
- The ability to make decisions
- Loyalty to the democratic process
- Time and energy to devote to board business, including board development opportunities
- Ability to accept the will of the majority
- Respect for district staff
- Ability to communicate well with others
The mission of the Association is to support, promote, and enhance the work of local school boards