Before beginning the duties of the office, each new board member is required to take an oath of office. Board inquiries concerning the administration of the oath prove to be some of the most frequently asked questions we respond to in early January. Below, I have provided answers to some of the recent questions we have received.
Who may give the oath of office? The oath may be given by a number of people, including the treasurer, any other current board member, any elected officeholder whose office has jurisdiction over the territory of the school district, a notary public, or any member of the General Assembly.
Where is it stated in law who may give the oath of office? The list of those individuals who may give the oath of office is actually outlined in three different statutes: R.C. 3313.10, R.C. 147.07 and R.C. 3.24.
May the superintendent give the oath? No, unless he or she is a notary public or otherwise qualified to give the oath.
May my spouse/sister/favorite uncle give the oath? No, unless he or she is a notary public or otherwise qualified to give the oath.
When should we give the oath of office? Typically, the oath is one of the first agenda items after the boards organizational meeting is called to order. Taking the oath in advance of the meeting is also permissible. If the oath has been previously administered, it should be stated for the record at the organizational meeting as to when, where and by whom the oath was given.
Who can give the oath of office to our president or vice president? No separate oath of office is required to swear in your president or vice president. We understand that many boards will issue an additional oath to their president or vice president as a part of their ceremony. This is not a legal requirement. Since it is not legally required, there are no legal restrictions on who can give an additional oath of office to the board president or vice president.
We have reelected board members on our board. Do they need to take a new oath of office? Yes. Reelected board members are beginning a new term and part of qualifying for the new term of office is taking the oath of office.
Does our superintendent need to take an oath of office? No. Your superintendent is not an elected official who is required to take an oath of office.
What should our board members say as a part of the oath? A sample oath can be found in the OSBA Boardmanship book. Typically, the oath asks the board member to swear or affirm their support of the state and federal Constitution and to conduct their duties to the best of their ability and in accordance with the law.