FAQ

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions. If you do not see your question here, feel free to contact us.


How do I become a school board candidate?

Board members are elected to four-year terms, or two-year terms to fill a vacancy. You must be a registered voter and you must have lived in the district for one year immediately preceding the election. School district, ESD and community college employees elected to serve on their board must give up district employment to sit on the board.

Your county elections official, superintendent, college president or school board member can tell you how board members are elected in your district.

When are school board elections?

Half of the board members in Oregon’s school, community college and education service districts are elected or re-elected in each odd-numbered year. Under Oregon law, such elections are held the third Tuesday in May. The next election is May 18, 2021.

How do I file?

The filing period opens Feb. 6. Prospective candidates can file in one of two ways:

  1. Submit a petition containing the signatures of 25 registered voters or 10 percent of the registered voters in the district, whichever is less
  2. Submit a declaration of candidacy with a $10 filing fee

How can I receive training?

Through workshops and conferences, OSBA equips school board members with the leadership training they need to perform at their best. To help prospective candidates answer questions about the process and prepare them to become school board members if they are elected, OSBA Board Development staff offered two webinars. Watch the recordings.

What does a school board do?

The board’s major responsibility is setting policy. The board hires a chief executive (superintendent or college president), who in turn hires staff. Board members must also:

  • Establish budget
  • Choose curriculum
  • Set goals, evaluate progress toward those goals
  • Ask voters to approve bond measures and local option levies
  • Guide collective bargaining

How much time is required?

It varies. School board service involves a substantial time commitment as an unpaid volunteer. Boards typically meet one or two evenings a month. Before the monthly meetings, you’ll need to study the materials. There are also committee meetings, work sessions and appearances.

What do I need to know before I start campaigning?

Board candidate campaigns range from simple to sophisticated. One common element, however, is the state requirement for reporting campaign finances. State law limits the sources and amounts of contributions and the purposes for which those contributions may be spent. Contact the Secretary of State Elections Division online or at (503) 986-1518 for guidance.

How are school board members of color supported?

OSBA helped establish the Oregon School Board Members of Color Caucus in 2016.  Caucus members have identified their mission as “to promote quality education for all students with emphasis on the unique needs of students of color.”

What makes a good board member?

  • Public education advocate
  • Skilled decision maker
  • Willing to devote time and energy to your volunteer position
  • Courage to stand up for your convictions
  • Team player