Running For Election

RESOURCES | BECOMING A BOARD MEMBER

Running for School Board?

Local school boards are a uniquely American institution and at the heart of this country’s public education system. A board’s existence is based on the belief that lay control of public education makes schools flexible and responsive to the needs of the local community. #KeepEducationLocal

School board elections are part of the general election in even-numbered years. Special elections to fill unanticipated vacancies occurring between regular elections may be called by the county superintendent of schools. Or a county school superintendent may also choose to appoint an individual to fill such a vacancy. Primary elections do not pertain to the election of school board members.
The names of school board candidates are printed in the non-partisan section of the ballot. Voters in the school district elect their school board members.

Eligibility to Run
Any registered voter in the State of Arizona who also is a resident of the school district in which he or she resides for at least one year immediately preceding the day of election is eligible to run for a position on the local school board.

A person who is employed, or whose spouse is employed, by a district can stand for election as a governing board member. However, if elected, the successful candidate and/or spouse must terminate employment with the district before taking office.

Other Limitations onboard service exist:

Board members cannot serve simultaneously on more than one school district governing board.

A person who has an immediate family member sitting on a school district governing board and who has shared the same household of residence with that family member within four years prior to the election is ineligible to be a candidate for nomination or election to that governing board if the governing board is composed of five members unless the immediate family member is serving in the last year of a term of office.

Two or more individuals related by affinity, consanguinity or law to the third degree are prohibited from serving simultaneously on a five-member school governing board with a minimum count of 250 located within a county of more than 500,000.

Term of Office
Election is for a four-year term, except for those positions filling a vacancy in office or those districts with two-year terms.

The process for running:

  • Pick up or request an information packet from your county superintendent of schools.
  • File a political committee statement of organization with your county elections department or county superintendent of schools once you have reached a combined total of $1200.00 in contributions and expenses.
  • Collect signatures on your nominating petitions. (You can collect signatures without filing a political committee statement of organization)
  • File signatures pages with the county superintendent of schools between the identified candidate filing period.
  • Run your campaign.

Nominating Petitions
Nominating petitions are required for those running for school board. Eligible persons desiring to run for the school board should:

  1. Obtain nominating petition forms from the county superintendent of schools.
  2. Ask the county superintendent how many signatures of qualified electors residing in the school district are required.
  3. Obtain necessary signatures, being very careful to follow the legal requirements for valid signatures.
  4. File the petitions no sooner than 150 days nor later than 120 days before the election date. In 2020, those dates are after June 6 and before July 6. (A.R.S. §16-311B)
  5. After the nomination signatures filing date deadline (July 6), there is a ten-day period for contesting petitions (July 7-July 20).  Also, there may be candidates filing as write-in candidates until August 19 (those that do so won’t have their name on the ballot but will be eligible to have any votes for those candidates counted in the general election).  If there are less than the number or an equal number of eligible candidates running for the number of seats available after August 19, the county board of supervisors may decide to cancel the election and will issue certificates of election following the election date to all candidates running.

Date of Taking Office
Board members take office at the first organizational meeting of the school board, which must be held between the first and 15th day of January following the general election. The oath of office is administered at any time after receiving your certificate of election

Campaign Finance Reports
Candidates who reach a total of $1200.00 must register a statement of organization for a political committee. Once the statement of organization is filed, the candidate must file campaign finance reports until the committee is closed. Consult your county elections office for donation guidelines and finance reporting deadlines. All forms may be obtained from your county elections office or county school superintendent.

Financial Disclosure Statement
The detailed personal financial disclosure statement required for state-wide offices by A.R.S. §38-542 is not required of governing board members.

Additional Information

Becoming a Board Member
The Arizona School Boards Association is solely responsible for this advertisement. The Arizona School Boards Association is an association of school districts authorized under Arizona Revised Statutes section 15-342 and a non-profit organization organized under section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code. The Arizona School Boards Association is non-partisan and seeks to promote public education, local control of education and school board governance. School board members, whose school districts make up the Arizona School Boards Association’s membership, are elected or appointed, non-partisan and serve for no remuneration.

ASBA School Board Service Booklet
Download our School Board Service Booklet.

Request an ASBA Representative
Your organization or community group can learn more about school board service and how to become a board member by requesting an ASBA representative to speak at your event or meeting.

Do You Have What it Takes?
Download our School Board Booklet.