Keep Partisan Politics Out of School Board Elections and Meetings

2021-04-26 | Missouri School Boards Assoc

The House gave first-round approval to HB 920 (Baker), which moves the election of school board members from April to November. MSBA believes that school board elections should be held on the Municipal Election Day and remain nonpartisan so the school board members may focus solely on what is best for the students and the school district and are not distracted by partisan politics. Additionally,

  • Campaigning for a volunteer school board seat will be more expensive.
  • Voters will be less informed about school district issues because of a crowded ballot.
  • Candidate filing will occur in summer months when the school community is scattered.
  • New school board members will begin service in the middle of the school year.
  • This bill will encourage party politics in school board elections, when the sole focus should be on the students.

Contact your member of the Missouri House of Representatives NOW and let them know school board elections should remain in a non-partisan election. For more information, see Changes to Elections.

Several bills were amended to require a district to put an item on the school board’s agenda and force the school board to vote on that item if a petition is signed by voters equaling five percent (5%) of those voting in the last school board election. The bill language does not limit the agenda items to school-related issues, which means that school boards could be forced to vote on irrelevant, highly partisan issues prior to school board elections. The amendment has been added to HB 108, HB 320, and HB 441. HB 320 and HB 441 passed the House. See more information. MSBA opposes this amended language for the following reasons.
  • School boards already allow the public to request agenda items and participate in public comment at school board meetings.
  • This bill language is more restrictive than existing school board policies and would actually make it more difficult for a member of the public to get an item on the Board’s agenda.
  • School board meetings should be limited to necessary school board business.
  • This will be used to politicize school board meetings and school board elections.
  • This will be used to pressure school boards into approving school board member recall elections.
    See School Board Member Recall.

Bills

  1. HB320: Changes provisions relating to computer science courses
  2. HB441: Modifies provisions relating to political subdivisions
  3. HB920: Moves School Board Elections to November