The commissioner of education, the State Board of Education, and the Department of Elementary & Secondardy Education (DESE) guide and monitor public education in Missouri. The State Board of Education provides leadership and state level administration, and the commissioner and DESE staff work with the Board to implement education policy. Missouri has delegated much of the responsibility for education to the local board of education. Locally elected boards of education are political subdivisions carrying out a state function. Local school boards have significant latitude in governing the schools.
To be eligible for election, a local school board candidate must be:
- a citizen of the United States
- a resident taxpayer of the district immediately preceding 12-month period, or the spouse of such individual
- a resident of the state for 1-year preceding election of appointment
- at least 24 years of age
- not delinquent in the payment of any state taxes, personal & real estate taxes
- not found guilty nor pled guilty to a felony under federal law or felony under Missouri law
- not a registered or required to register as a sex offender pursuant to law
- have filed all required campaign disclosure reports with the Missouri Ethics Commission
School board members are guardians of the public trust and, through the policies they make, are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of local public education. The board serves as the advocate for educational excellence for the community's youth and puts those interest first. The policies school boards make dictate the standards and philosophy by which schools are run and the criteria used to judge whether they are being run well.
This responsibility often entails difficult choices, self-sacrifice and exposure to public criticism. However, it also brings a great deal of personal satisfaction in sharing with parents, staff and students their academic successes. This crucial responsibility and the closeness of board members to the voters make the local board of education the purest example of democracy our society presents.
As mandated by the Outstanding Schools Act, known as Senate Bill 380 and by the State Board of Education rule, newly elected or appointed school board members are required to participate in training activities through the Missouri School Boards Association. These course will build on the skills and knowledge necessary for the school board member to ensure a quality education for the children of the district.
School board elections are held the first Tuesday of April each year.
Yes. Any member of the Board of Education failing to attend three consecutive regular meetings of the Board, unless excused by the Board for reasons satisfactory to the Board, shall be deemed to have vacated the position on the Board. The secretary of the Board shall certify to the Board that a vacancy exists. The vacancy shall then be filled in the same manner as other vacancies occurring on the board.
The Board shall not employ one of its members, nor shall any Board member vote to employ any person who is related within the 4th degree to such Board member, either by consanguinity or affinity. In the event that an individual is recommended for employment by the administrative staff and the individual is related within the 4th degree to a Board member, the Board member shall declare his or her interest, and shall refrain from debating or voting upon the question of employment.