January brings new year’s resolutions, bowl games and (for school districts) organizational meetings. Everyone loves a checklist, so here it is: your handy-dandy organizational meeting checklist!
_____ City, local, and exempted village boards of education must meet during the first fifteen days of January.
_____ Joint vocational boards of education and educational service center governing boards must meet in January.
_____ If the members of the former board selected a president pro tempore for the organizational meeting at its December meeting, that person will call the meeting to order and preside over the election of a new board president.
_____ If the members of the former board did not select a president pro tempore for the organizational meeting, the treasurer will call the meeting to order and the board’s first order of the business will be selecting a president pro tempore from among its members to preside over the election.
Beginning the meeting:
_____ Pledge of allegiance.
_____ Treasurer takes the roll.
Oaths of office:
_____ Treasurer or another board member administers the oath of office for any board members beginning their terms, whether they are newly elected or returning to the board, if they have not already taken an oath of office for the term.
______ Check the board’s policy to see whether it has an oath of office to administer. If not, OSBA has a sample oath on its website: https://www.ohioschoolboards.org/oath-office
_____ If any board member has already received an oath of office since Jan. 1, the board member should state, for the record, where, when, and by whom the oath was administered.
Election of board president:
_____ The president pro tempore asks for nominations for the 2022 board president. Board members can nominate any board member, including themselves, for board president. There is no need for a nomination to be seconded.
_____ If only one person has been nominated, the treasurer can call the roll and each member should indicate whether they are voting for that person. If the person receives a majority of the votes, that person becomes president and presides over the rest of the meeting.
_____ If more than one person has been nominated, the treasurer calls the roll and each person votes for the person of their choice. If one person receives a majority of the votes, that person becomes president and presides over the rest of the meeting.
_____ If no person receives the necessary majority, the board members must engage in consensus building until they can reach a decision and select one member. When one person receives a majority of the votes, that person becomes president and presides over the rest of the meeting. NOTE: It is not necessary for the board president to take another oath of office to serve in that role.
Election of board vice-president:
_____ The new board president asks for nominations for the 2022 board vice-president. Board members can nominate any board member except the board president, including themselves, for board vice-president. There is no need for a nomination to be seconded.
_____ The election follows the same process as the presidential election: nomination and then vote. It is not necessary for the board vice-president to take an oath to serve as an officer.
Routine organizational meeting business:
_____ Approve the minutes of the last meeting of 2021. The new board can approve these minutes even if some members were not on the previous board.
_____ Set the regular meeting schedule for the year. This is the only statutory requirement for the board’s organizational meeting. The board must meet at least once every two months but most meet more frequently. Meetings can be on the same day of the same week each month (second Tuesday of the month, for example) but the board can also be set them at less regular intervals to accommodate the family, career and other obligations of its members. Make sure to review the board’s policy on regular meetings and comply with whatever the policy provides.
_____ Make appointments to the joint vocational school district board of education (if the position is open) and to any board committees.
_____ Adopt the district’s tax budget, authorize the purchase of liability insurance for board members and the board as an entity, and renew the board’s membership in OSBA.
_____ Discuss whether board members will be participating in the School Employees Retirement System and establish the board service fund described in RC 3315.15.
_____ Take care of other matters, if any, specified in the board's organizational meeting policy.
This checklist should help your board have an orderly, efficient and effective organizational meeting. More information is available in OSBA's fact sheet on organizational meetings. If you have any other questions about the organizational meeting, OSBA’s division of legal services is available to help. For assistance with general questions, please contact the division at (855) OSBA-LAW. As always, districts with questions on specific facts should contact their board’s legal counsel.