To become a member of a local board of education in New Jersey, you must:
Must be a citizen of the United States of America
Must be at least 18 years of age
Must be able to read and write
Must be a resident for at least one year preceding the date of election in the municipality where he/she is to be elected
Is not disqualified as a voter pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:4-1
Is not disqualified from membership for the conviction of crimes pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:12-1*
Is a registered voter in the school district
Membership by Election
Board members living in a Type II school district (such as Scotch Plains-Fanwood) are elected by the district's voters at the general election for terms of three years. To be included on the ballot, you must:
Obtain the signatures of at least 10 qualified voters living within the district, one of which may be your own.
You can gather support for your candidacy by communicating your goals and aims for the schools to the electorate.
Campaigning for Election
Each candidate for election, including an incumbent, must be nominated directly by petition, signed by at least ten persons (one of whom may be the candidate).
That the signers are qualified district voters at least 18 years of age
The name, residence and post office address of the candidate and the office for which the candidate is endorsed
That the signers endorse the candidate and ask that his or her name be printed on the ballot
That the candidate is legally qualified to be a school board member
One of the signers must make a sworn statement that the petition is prepared in good faith, that he or she saw all of the signatures included in the petition and that he or she believes that the signers are duly qualified voters.
With the nominating petition, the candidate must include a signed statement certifying that he or she is qualified to be a school board member, consents to be a candidate, and will accept the office if elected. In 2023, nominating petitions must be filed with the County Clerk, 2 Broad Street, Room 113, Elizabeth, NJ 07201-2299 on or before 4:00 p.m., July 31, 2023.
Reporting of Expenditures
All candidates are required by law to comply with the provisions of The New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act. For further information, call the Election Law Enforcement Commission at (609) 292-8700, or visit its website, www.elec.state.nj.us.
Candidates and committees subject to the New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act are required to include "Paid for by" language in all campaign materials. "Paid for by" language must include the name and address of the committee, individual or group, and clearly state that the entity financed the communication. Examples of "Paid for by" language may be found in ELEC's Compliance Manual.
New Jersey law requires all first-year school board members to attend a New Jersey School Boards Association training program on the roles and responsibilities of school board members. The NJSBA Board Member Academy offers programs to help new members meet this requirement. For example, NJSBA's New Board Member Orientation is an intensive weekend conference addressing all areas of school board responsibility.
A nationwide model in board member training, the Orientation program is tailored to develop knowledge and skills that will help new members function effectively as part of a local board of education. The Academy also provides one-day programs covering the basic areas of school board responsibility. Information about all these programs is provided through School Board Notes and direct mailings to members.
In addition to new board member programs, the NJSBA Board Member Academy offers a full curriculum leading to basic and advanced certificates. Programs address such topics as labor relations, leadership skills, effective decision-making, policy making, budgeting, community relations, school law and legislation.