Board of Education Elections
Have YOU Considered Serving on the Board of Education?
Elected by district residents to serve three year terms, Johnstown’s school board members are ordinary citizens who decide at the local level what is best for our children and community. We need good people to step forward who can:
- Act in the best interest of the entire district, not just one segment of the district or a special interest group.
- Be good information processors and think critically about facts, relevance, effects and future outcomes.
- Work with the rest of the board to get things done.
- Strive to inspire parents, staff and community groups to have confidence in the school.
How do I become a school board candidate?
In order to appear on the election ballot in small city districts such as Johnstown, candidates file a Nominating Petition with the district clerk, signed by 100 qualified district voters. The petition must include the candidate’s name and residence address, as well as the names and residences of the people signing the petition. You do not need to be affiliated with a political party. Nominating petitions may be obtained by emailing the district clerk, firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the deadline for filing a nominating petition?
Subject to few exceptions, school districts statewide are required by law to hold an annual budget vote and Board of Education Election on the third Tuesday in May and the deadline for filing nominating petitions in a small city school district is 20 days before the election.
Do I need to disclose campaign expenditures?
A candidate who spends $0-$500 must file three sworn Candidate Expense Statements with the district clerk indicating this to be the case. Candidates with expenditures in excess of $500 must file a statement with the Commissioner of Education. Campaign expense statement forms may be obtained by emailing the district clerk, email@example.com.
What if there are no candidates or not enough candidates?
The election is still held and the vacancies are filled by the qualified individuals who receive the most write-in votes.
What are the qualifications for school board members?
Board of education members:
- Must be and have been a resident of the school district continuously for at least one year prior to the election (NYS law does not require you to be a taxpayer)
- Must be a qualified voter in the district (a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years of age, not adjudged to be incompetent)
- May not be a current employee of the school district (although former employees and relatives of employees may serve)
- Must be able to read and write
- May not reside with another member of the same school board as a member of the same family
- May not simultaneously hold another incompatible public office
- Can not have been removed from any school district office in the preceding year
- Once elected, board members must complete 12 hours of state mandated training (six hours of fiscal accountability training and six hours of governance skills training) during their first year of service. This training is offered several times a year at regional workshops and/or via online courses and is paid for by the school district.
New York State law does not allow school districts to impose any other eligibility requirements for board members.
What are the responsibilities of the board of education?
State statutes define the powers and duties of school boards. Some of the basic responsibilities of the Board of Education include:
- Hiring and annually evaluating the Superintendent.
- Reviewing and adopting policies to be implemented by the Superintendent for the operation of the school.
- Adopting an annual budget for presentation to voters.
- Reviewing and approving financial reports of the school system.
- Approving the hiring of personnel recommended by the Superintendent.
- Ratifying collective bargaining agreements; responsible with the Superintendent for negotiating terms and conditions of employment as outlined in the Taylor Law.
- Considering recommendations for building improvements and expansion, as well as determining the means for financing.
- Deciding how school boundaries are drawn and whether schools are closed.
What are the time commitments?
The Johnstown school board conducts one business meeting per month and may conduct additional special board meetings when deemed necessary. A packet of information is provided to board members several days before a meeting for review. Additionally, several subcommittees of the board meet regularly (all board members are expected to serve on at least one subcommittee; many serve on two or more). In addition to regular attendance at meetings, board members are also encouraged to support the school community by attending district-wide events when possible.
How much are board of education members paid?
School board members are not paid for their service, the time and commitment they provide is voluntary.
Why should I step forward?
Your local school board makes decisions that affect your children and your community. This could be your chance to weigh in and shape their future. If not you, then who?
Additional information about school board service can be found on the New York State School Boards Association website at http://www.nyssba.org.