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Module 6: Elections

Objective: This module is intended to help each member of the School Community Council to understand proper procedure for holding SCC elections, including advertising the election, announcing candidacy, holding the vote and keeping appropriate records of the election. Activity: Understanding Perceptions About SCCs The democratic process gives us a unique opportunity to participate in decision making in our country, towns and even our schools through School Community Councils. While there are often many parents who are deeply invested in what happens at the school their children attend, there are even more who do not take the opportunity to participate in SCCs and other school decision making processes. When advertising elections and later SCC meetings, think about how you can make participation in these events more accessible for parents at your school. Study this political cartoon. What are the parallels between national elections and SCC elections? What barriers do you think parents see to participation in SCCs? How can these barriers be overcome to encourage participation from all types of parents?

Module Outline: Preparation for elections Candidate Eligibility

Election Rules Election Methods What if positions are unfilled? Questions for Discussion Sample Forms

Preparation for Elections As mentioned in other modules, there are many deadlines to be aware of and preparation for SCC elections is no exception. Prior to the end of the current school year (no later than May 1) the sitting council should review the number of members leaving the council and determine the number of vacancies that will need to be filled in the coming election. Remember, SCC members are limited to 3 consecutive 2-year terms. Council members also serve staggered terms, so no more than half the member slots should be up for election in any given year. Once vacancies have been determined, no later than May 15, notice should be posted at the school and sent home with students notifying parents of the requirements and qualification of council membership and steps needed to declare their candidacy for the council. (See sample at the end of the module) Candidates have until the seventh day after the start of school to declare their candidacy. Candidate Eligibility Parents, guardians and school employees are all eligible to run for council seats. Each group has slightly different restrictions: Parents/Guardians Must have a student enrolled at the school at any time during the two-year term for which candidacy is sought Incumbent members seeking re-election for a second or third term are eligible whether or not they have a student enrolled during the subsequent term(s) Parents who are licensed educators and employed by the school district where their children attend school may now run for a parent member position at their childs school if they do not teach at the same school.

School Employees Staff may serve as parent members as long as they do not teach at the same school their child attends Employee members resign their school community council membership at such time they are no longer employees assigned at the school May serve up to three consecutive terms

Election Rules All elections are overseen by the school principal SCC campaign materials are not allowed on school grounds, although schools are encouraged to distribute candidate biographical information

Elections must be held for three consecutive school days Elections must begin prior to the 31st day of school Ballots will list the names of candidates alphabetically Only parents or legal guardians of the students enrolled at the school may vote in elections Each parent/guardian will receive one vote & the signatures of those casting ballots will be obtained One Ballot, which will list the names of employee candidates alphabetically, will be prepared for each employee of the school The signature of the employee casting the ballot will be obtained Each ballot will declare the number of vacancies and allow the voter to vote for up to that number of candidates The principal, accompanied by at least one parent/guardian observer and at least one employee observer from the sitting council will process the ballots Those parent/guardians and those teachers receiving the most votes will be appointed to the council Ties will be decided by members of the sitting council using a method of their choice (lots, consensus, etc) Results of the election will be made public as soon as reasonably possible. Tallies & ballots must be retained by the school for one year and made available to the public upon request. Election Methods Under the law there are several allowable methods for elections 1. At school Ballots can be available at parent/teacher conferences, school registration, back to school night or other school activities. 2. Mail-in ballots SCCs may establish procedures that allow for ballots to be clearly marked and returned to the school 3. Electronic Voting- SCCs may establish procedures that allow for voting to be done electronically 4. Student Delivered Students could deliver one ballot per parent/guardian that would be filled out, signed and returned to the school by the student or the parent Regardless of the method selected, the following must be followed: SCCs must have their methods and procedures in place and clearly explained on the schools website Any violations of a schools voting procedure may disqualify a parents vote or invalidate a specific school election or both. What if positions are left unfilled? If a parent position is left unfilled after the election is held due to a lack of declared candidates, the parent members of the council can appoint a parent.

If a parent has to leave the council before the end of their term, the council may appoint a qualified parent to serve out the remainder of the term If an employee position is left unfilled after the election is held due to a lack of declared candidates, the employee members of the council can appoint an employee. If an employee has to leave the council before the end of their term, the council may appoint a qualified employee to serve out the remainder of the term For a checklist of election items, please go to the School Land Trust website http://www.schoollandtrust.org/downloads/pdfs/13-2012--5-SCC-Election-Checklist.pdf

Questions for Discussion Why are proper procedures for SCC elections necessary? How can awareness of elections procedures help parents participate in SCCs?

Sample Forms Sample Ballot

[School Name] SchoolCommunityCouncilElections 2011- 2012 Parent Voting Ballot


TheSchoolCommunityCouncilwillconsistof7parentrepresentatives, 4ofwhichwillcompletean additionalyearoftheirtwoyearterm. You may select 3 parents from the list of candidates below to fill the remaining seats for this election. For your information, there are also 5school representatives who will serveon theCouncil. Please Select Three: Melissa Adams Mary Connors Jeff Palmer Terry Sanchez Meredith White

[School Name] Announces School Community Council Elections


School Community Councils are elected parent/guardian and employee representatives who work together with the Principal to improve schools. By law, the council is responsible to review school data and make plans for school improvement. Councils also allocate the LAND Trust funds to assist the school in reaching achievement goals. Parents elect parent representatives and employees elect employee representatives for two-year terms. To be eligible, a parent must have a student enrolled in the school for at least one of the years and may not be employed at the same school their child attends. Elections must commence before the 31 st day of school and the voting period will last three days. We invite you to participate in the schools council by declaring your candidacy. Please return the bottom portion of this form to your school principal by 3 pm no more than seven days after the first day of school.

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Declaration of Candidacy
I want to be a candidate for the School Community Council
Parent/Guardian Printed Name: Phone I am the Parent/Guardian of student(s): Email

First/last name

grade

First/last name

grade

Signature

Date