State Board 1
Issue Background

State Board of Education

The State Board of Education is a governmental entity charged with governing the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and implementing state and federal law as it relates to Missouri public schools.

The State Board is created by Article IX, §2(a) of the Missouri Constitution, which states:

The supervision of instruction in the public schools shall be vested in a state board of education, consisting of eight lay members appointed by the governor, by and with the advice and consent of the senate; provided, that at no time shall more than four members be of the same political party. The term of office of each member shall be eight years, except the terms of the first appointees shall be from one to eight years, respectively. While attending to the duties of their office, members shall be entitled to receive only actual expenses incurred, and a per diem fixed by law.

Key Features:

  • Appointed by the governor and subject to approval by the Missouri Senate. 
  • No more than four State Board members can be from the same political party. 
  • Staggered terms of eight years to ensure that no single governor can appoint all of the members. 
  • No two members may reside in the same county or congressional district. 
  • State Board members cannot be removed by the governor unless they have been given written notice and a hearing on charges of wrongdoing or failure to perform a legal duty.  §161.022, RSMo. 

Other Qualifications:

  • To be appointed to the State Board, the person must be a citizen “of high moral standards and recognized ability in their respective business or profession.”  §161.032, RSMo. 
  • Board members must have resided in the state for at least five years immediately before appointment
  • Cannot be an official or an employee of any school, college or university, public or private.
  • Cannot hold public office or be a candidate for public office.  §161.032, RSMo.  

Other Requirements

  • State board members receive $25 for each day they attend a State Board meeting and reimbursement for expenses.  §161.022, RSMo.
  • The State Board is required to meet at least twice a year, but typically meets once a month. §161.072, RSMo. 
  • By statute, it takes five State Board members to establish a quorum, and official actions of the State Board can only be made if a majority of the whole board (five) votes.  §161.082, RSMo.


  1. Appoints the commissioner of education
  2. Creates state regulations impacting public school districts
  3. Sets Missouri Learning Standards
  4. Develops and monitors statewide assessments
  5. Accredits public schools through the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP)
  6. Distributes state and federal funds and monitors public school financial condition
  7. Grants, disciplines and revokes teaching certificates and evaluates educator preparation programs
  8. Establishes regional professional development centers
  9. Monitors special education funding, sets eligibility requirements and governs the Missouri Schools for the Deaf, Blind, and Severely Disabled
  10. Issues high school equivalency certificates
It is critical that education policy is focused on the student — not on partisan ideology.
- MSBA Advocacy Position Statement for Federal Governmental Issues