Becoming a School Board Member: Candidate Kit
NJSBA's Candidate Kit provides vital resources, as well as links to important websites for anyone considering running for their local school board.
Consider School Board Candidacy!
Congratulations! You have taken the first step toward filling a vital role for your community – that of a school board member.
NJSBA’s Candidate Kit provides vital resources (downloadable PDFs listed below), as well as links to important websites for anyone considering running for their local school board.
If you are considering serving on your school board, take advantage of NJSBA’s online briefings that provide details about the responsibilities of serving on a local board of education. NJSBA’s online briefings include three videos that address leadership, legal issues, and the role of a board member. Candidates can also listen to a recorded online radio broadcast, “What Board Members Need to Know When They’re Elected.”
“The work of a school board has become increasingly complex, but rest assured, if you’re elected or appointed to your school board, you won’t ‘go it alone.’ NJSBA is New Jersey’s only service organization whose sole mission is to train, assist and represent the state’s local boards of education. With the New Jersey School Boards Association offering support and training, you will find your term of service on your district board extremely rewarding.”
– Karen Cortellino, M.D, president, New Jersey School Boards Association
Background: On July 1, 2020, Gov. Murphy signed into law P.L.2020, c. 55 that would provide for an electronic process for the collection of petition signatures and their submission for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. On Jan. 25, 2021, Murphy issued Executive Order 216, which clarified electronic filing procedures for the upcoming April elections. Please contact the secretary of your local board of education for filing details.
Annual Election Dates A 2012 law, P.L.2012, c. 78, gives communities the option to change the date of the school board member elections from the third Tuesday in April to the General Election in November. Although the majority of school districts have changed to November school elections, please check with your local board of education office to confirm the date of the 2021 school election in your community.
Nominating Petitions – Filing Deadline
Individual and Joint Filing – Legislation enacted in 2018 permits board of education candidates to circulate nominating petitions jointly and to be bracketed together on the ballot. Below are two sample petitions: one for an individual filing and one for joint filing.
Email addresses – A 2018 statute requires that a nominating petition for any state, county, school, or municipal elective public office include a functioning email address for the candidate.
Circular for Petitions – On March 31, 2014, the Honorable Mary Jacobson, A.J.S.C., Assignment Judge of Mercer County, issued an opinion and order in the case of Empower Our Neighborhood, et al. v. Guadagno, et al. The order states, in part, that a circulator for school board nomination petitions is not required to be a registered voter or resident of the jurisdiction of the candidate, but must otherwise be eligible to vote in New Jersey. Attorney General’s Ruling
Sample Petitions – Board candidates are reminded that some county boards of elections require the use of a county-specific nominating petition and other forms. Candidates should contact their district business administrator or county clerk for details concerning the proper form(s) to use for candidacy in the November 2023 school board elections, and for details about filing procedures and any new developments in signature collection and other filing requirements.NJ-County-Clerk-Contact-Information.
The deadline for submission of the 2023 November school board election nominating petitions to the county clerk’s office – for both individual and joint filings is July 31, 2023.
Additional Information and Resources
- 2023 November Chronological Election Dates (New Jersey Division of Elections)
- 2023 NJDOE School Election and Budget Procedures Calendar
- 2023 Important November Election Dates (NJSBA)
- New Jersey Division of Elections Website
- How to Become a School Board Member and Frequently Asked Questions
- Requirements of the New Jersey School Ethics Act
- November School-Election-Sample-Press-Release
- 13 Things School Board Members Wish People Knew About Them
- School Governance Primer (video series and additional resources)
- A Guide to School Board Meetings in New Jersey
Vote Poster – November 2023
Criminal History Records Check: Board members must complete a criminal history record check through the New Jersey Department of Education within 30 days of election or appointment. The 30-day period commences upon the certification of election results or upon confirmation of the appointment. For information, visit https://www.nj.gov/education/crimhist/.
Campaign Reporting Requirements: Contacting the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC)
- All candidates for school board office must comply with the provisions of the New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act. For further information and downloadable reporting forms, contact the ELEC.
- 2022 NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission ELEC Reporting Dates
- Phone: (609) 292–8700 • Fax: 1-609-633-9854
Ten Things School Board Candidates — and Newly Elected Board Members — Should Know
View NJSBA’s online video series for school board candidates, “Ten Things Every School Board Candidate Should Know Before Taking Office.” The series contains important information for candidates and newly elected board members. Topics include criminal history record checks for newly elected board members; the Sunshine Law; the Board Member Code of Ethics; mandated training; and professional development opportunities.
Online Candidate Briefings: What Candidates Need to Know When Elected
To help potential candidates understand the roles and responsibilities of school board members, the New Jersey School Boards Association offers online Candidate Briefings. These programs address the structure and responsibilities of local school boards in New Jersey. The programs include:
- “What Board Candidates Need to Know If Elected”
- “Being an Effective Board Member”
- “Legal Aspects of Board Service”
- “Roles and Responsibilities of Board Members”
Contact Ann Marie Smith, NJSBA’s Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.