file photo by Boyd Loving
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, 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.”
– Irene M. LeFebvre, President, New Jersey School Boards Association
Background: On July 1, 2020, Governor 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 January 25, 2021, Governor 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, Monday, July 26, 2021
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 county clerk for details concerning the proper form(s) to use for candidacy in the November 2021 school board elections. NJ-County-Clerk-Contact-Information.
The deadline for submission of the 2021 November school board election nominating petitions to the county clerk – for both individual and joint filings – is 4 p.m. July 26, 2021.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the ongoing state of emergency declared in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the requirements for filing a nominating petition may be revised pursuant to statute, regulation, or executive order. Please contact the county clerk for details about filing procedures and any new developments in signature collection and other filing requirements.