School Board Members

Board Members

The school board sets the direction of the district, ensures that it is properly administered, establishes policy, and represents the education interests of the community. The superintendent is the district’s chief executive officer (CEO) who carries out policy and day-to-day administration of the schools.

No individual board member has any power or authority and must never attempt to act as an administrator of the school system. Board members can act only as a group. No single board member has the right to make any decision for the rest of the board. The only time board members may transact any business is when they meet in a legally convened session.

Arkansas school boards are authorized to:

  • Prescribe the form of school organization, such as grade levels for elementary, middle, and high schools

  • Specify the size, type, style, quality, and location of district buildings, within Arkansas Department of Education guidelines and with its approval

  • Choose the superintendent and approve the hiring of teachers, subject to state licensing requirements

  • Determine the types and amount of school equipment

  • Decide what will be taught in order to meet or exceed state standards

  • Determine the extent of student transportation

  • Adopt appropriate policies and procedures that are consistent with the law for students, staff, parents and volunteers

More specifically, a board of education is obligated to:

  • Comply with state and federal laws and the policies and regulations of state education agencies

  • Determine the district’s education philosophy and goals

  • Choose the superintendent and work constructively with him or her

  • Contribute to improving the education opportunities of every child in the district

  • Develop, adopt, and regularly review policies that will attract and keep the personnel who can promote the district’s education aims

  • Follow a budgeting process and adopt policies and procedures to ensure financials are legally and effectively managed

  • Review and approve an annual audit of the school district

  • Provide appropriate and sound physical facilities

  • Appraise district activities in relation to established goals and objectives

In 2009, the Legislature revised the statute outlining the powers and duties of school board members. Click here for § 6-13-620 which describes what board members may do in their elected roles. In 2011, the Legislature passed a requirement that school board members receive training in how to read and interpret an audit. That law, now Act 1213, is linked here. The law that addresses board training and reimbursement is § 6-13-629, which is linked here.


The public expects high standards of its elected officials, and school board service is no exception. Arkansas school board members are expected to act in the best interests of students, parents, staff, and other community residents. They should be aware of and follow the laws that address nepotism and conflict of interest, and they must file financial disclosure forms.

To aid Arkansas school board members, we have linked related documents for easy reference.

Code of Ethics

Read the School Board Member Code of Ethics.

Statement of Financial Interest

School board members annually must file by January 31 a Statement of Financial Interest, and candidates must file it as well; see “Statement of Financial Interest” at the Arkansas Ethics Commission website.

Arkansas Department of Education Rules and Regulations Governing Ethical Guidelines and Prohibitions for Educational Administrators, Employees, Board Members, and Other Parties (November 2011)

The guidelines set forth prohibitions for board members regarding doing business with the school district on which they serve on the board; discussing or voting on matters in which the board member has a direct or indirect interest; and family members of board members having business interests with the school district.

Arkansas Department of Education Rules Governing the Code of Ethics for Arkansas Educators (September 2010)

These rules define standards of professional conduct and outline procedures for investigations and enforcement of the Code of Ethics.

Board Candidates

The first question a school board candidate should ask is “why am I really running for school board?” It may be hard to imagine, but some people run for the school board to “get rid of someone” or because they have a personal agenda they wish to fulfill. These are not good intentions when running for the school board.

Serving on an Arkansas school board is serious business. In fact, tougher state accountability laws and rules can result in removal from office of entire school boards. School boards in Arkansas are expected to fulfill the roles and responsibilities outlined in 6-13-620. Click here to view ASBA's Candidate Guide for more information.

To be eligible to run for a school board position, you must be a qualified voter residing in the school district, and in the respective zone if members are elected from zones. You may not be an employee of the district (a family member employed by the district does not disqualify you from running for office).

School board candidate qualifications:

  • Must be a qualified registered voter of the school district and the electoral zone, if applicable A.C.A. §§6-13-616(a), 6-14-111(h), (i)(1), Article 3, §1

  • Must be a U.S. citizen Article 3, §1

  • Must be an Arkansas resident Article 3, §1

  • Must be a resident of the school district and, if elected from zones, the respective electoral zone A.C.A. §§6-13-631(d)(1), 6-14-111(i)(1)

  • Must not be an employee of the school district served A.C.A. §6-13-616(b)

  • Must be lawfully registered to vote Article 3, §1

  • Must never have been convicted of embezzlement of public money, bribery, forgery, or other infamous crime Articles 3, §6 & 5, §9

School Board Elections

To run for school board, visit your county clerk’s office to request a packet of material about running for office.

  • School board candidates circulate petitions to gather signatures of at least twenty (20) qualified residents of the district (and electoral zone if school board members are elected from zones). Petition timelines are listed below.

For Districts Whose Local Policy Calls For Spring Elections

For elections held during odd years:

  • candidates may begin circulating petitions ninety (90) days prior to March 1

  • candidate filing period begins February 22 and closes March 1

  • election day is the second Tuesday in May

For elections held during even years concurrent with the presidential election:

  • candidates may begin circulating petitions ninety (90) days prior to the second Monday in November

  • candidate filing period opens first Monday in November and closes second Monday in November

  • election day is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March

For elections held during even years concurrent with the Arkansas governor election:

  • candidates may begin circulating petitions ninety (90) days prior to March 1

  • candidate filing period begins February 22 and closes March 1

  • election day is Tuesday four weeks prior to the third Tuesday in June

For Districts Whose Local Policy Calls For Fall Elections

For elections held during odd and even years:

  • candidates may begin circulating petitions one hundred eighty (180) days prior to the date of the election

  • candidate filing period begins ninety-seven (97) days before the election and closes ninety (90) days before the election

  • Election day is

    • Second Tuesday in November for elections held in odd years; OR

    • First Tuesday after the first Monday in November for elections held in even years

  • Candidate petitions and filing dates are available on the Secretary of State’s website.

  • Candidates are required to make specific timely financial filings. Information about those requirements can be found on the Arkansas Ethics Commission website.

  • A write-in candidate may submit a notice of intent to be a candidate instead of the petition with signatures by the deadline.

  • Runoffs, if needed, are held four (4) weeks after the election.

The Board Candidates tab contains specific information on qualifications.