Your local school board makes the decisions that determine how your community's children are educated and how your tax dollars are spent. Voting for school board members is a simple but powerful way to support student success and strengthen your community.
Every child enrolled in your school district is a reason for you to vote in school board elections. The overall quality of your local schools, both now and in the future, rests with decisions made by the board of education. You want the best and the brightest of your fellow citizens in charge.
The power to pursue excellence
The decisions made by the school board affect virtually every important aspect of local schools, from boundaries to bus schedules, curriculum to clubs, funding to field trips.
- The school board hires the superintendent, the "chief education officer" responsible for managing district staff and operations.
- The school board sets the priorities and adopts the budget that determine how millions in federal, state, and local tax dollars are spent.
- The school board sets goals for student achievement and evaluates progress toward those goals.
- The school board decides how school boundaries are drawn and whether schools are constructed or closed.
- The school board sets the policies that determine which courses and programs are offered and what texts, tools, and technology are purchased.
Voting in school board elections means your voice is represented in those choices.
You have everything to gain—or lose
Everyone—not just parents—has a stake in the success of public schools. When schools are strong and students succeed, everyone benefits.
- Good schools are good business—they attract employers, strengthen the local economy, and enhance property values.
- Good schools ensure our students will be prepared to keep our nation competitive in a global economy.
- Good schools keep the American Dream alive with an opportunity for every child to receive a world-class education.
- Good schools keep the quality of life in a community high by producing citizens who pay taxes and obey the law.
- Good schools teach students from all backgrounds how to live and participate in our democracy.
Voting in a school board election is an investment in the future of kids, of our community, and of the nation.
The right person makes a difference
What qualities, skills, and experience should you look for in a school board candidate? Here are some questions to consider.
- What are the candidate's vision and goals for high academic achievement for all students?
- Does the candidate inspire parents and other stakeholders to have confidence in the local public schools?
- Does the candidate understand that the school board's role is about the big picture—setting the direction for the district, and providing oversight and accountability—rather than day-to-day management?
- Does the candidate focus on one issue or discuss a broad range of school district concerns?
- Does the candidate's approach make it likely that he or she will be able to work effectively with the rest of the board to get things done?
- Will the candidate enhance the mix of skills and backgrounds on the board and help represent the diversity of the community?
- Does the candidate have the commitment to do what is right for all children, even in the face of opposition?
For more information
Because school boards are created by state law, the duties of the board, number of board members, length of time they serve, whether they run "at-large" or within some bounded area, and when elections take place, all vary from state to state and even within states. In some communities, board members are appointed by state or local officials rather than elected.
To get the specifics on school boards in your state, State School Boards Associations.
© 2007 Center for Public Education.
This document was created by the Center for Public Education. The Center for Public Education is an initiative of the National School Boards Association.