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A little over 1,400 locally elected officials govern the state's 237 traditional public school districts, determining the return on investment of $5.3 billion in local, state and federal funding for K-12 public education in Arkansas. That includes 47% of all the state's general revenue and 2/3 to 4/5 of local property taxes.

Public school districts are also the largest local government entities in the state, generally dwarfing their respective city and county budgets. Because of our efforts at the 90th General Assembly, school districts now have the local option of November elections, which will benefit the Helena-West Helena and Pulaski County Special School Districts as they return to local control. Unfortunately, the men and women who govern the remaining districts continue to be elected on a date (third Tuesday of September) with no other elections and are generally decided by a 100 times (10,000%) fewer voters than the General Election.

Further, these low turnout elections are dominated by employees of the respective districts, rather than parents, employers, and property tax paying citizens.

With talent being the new driver of economic development, nothing is more important to the present and future of our families, communities and state than the delivery of excellent public education. With nearly $150,000 invested in each student during their 13 years in the K-12 system, we must elect and re-elect leaders who demand these fundamental business principles in the governance of our public schools:

  • Transparency
  • Accountability
  • Rewards
  • Choice

September Elections

The filing period to run for school board opens June 12, 2016, with a noon, July 12, 2016 deadline to file the 20-signature petition. Please consider leading your community by running for your local school board. Here's how:

  • Visit the county clerk's office to get a packet of material about running for office.
  • June 12, 2016 is the first day candidates may circulate a petition (available from the Secretary of State's Office). Candidates need 20 signatures of qualified registered voters from his/her zone on petition.
  • July 5, 2016 is the first day a candidate may file a petition of candidacy (available from the Secretary of State's Office), the political practice pledge, and the affidavit of eligibility with the county clerk.
  • July 12, 2016 at noon is the deadline for a candidate to file a 1) petition of candidacy, 2) the political practice pledge, and 3) the affidavit of eligibility with the county clerk.
  • Deadline to register to vote for the School Election is August 22, 2016.
  • Deadline to register to vote for the School Election Runoff is September 12, 2016.
  • The School Elections are Tuesday, September 20 or November 8, 2016.
  • If needed, runoff will be held three weeks later (October 11 or November 29, 2016).

November Elections 

Two districts, Pulaski County Special and Helena West-Helena School Districts, which have been in State control for five years because of Fiscal Distress, will return to over one hundred times more local control than when they left by holding their elections during the November 8th General Election. Here are the relevant dates for November elections:

  • Visit the county clerk's office to get a packet of material about running for office.
  • July 31, 2016 is the first day candidates may circulate a petition (available from the Secretary of State's Office). Candidates need 20 signatures of qualified registered voters from his/her zone on petition.
  • August 23, 2016 is the first day a candidate may file a petition of candidacy (available from the Secretary of State's Office), the political practice pledge, and the affidavit of eligibility with the county clerk.
  • August 30, 2016 at noon is the deadline for a candidate to file a 1) petition of candidacy, 2) the political practice pledge, and 3) the affidavit of eligibility with the county clerk.
  • The School Elections are Tuesday, November 8, 2016.
  • If needed, runoff will be held three weeks later (November 29, 2016).

2016 Election (Revised)

To run for school board, candidates must:

  • be a qualified elector of the school district served whose name has been filed and certified by the county clerk of the county in which the school district is domiciled for administrative purposes;
  • be a U.S. citizen;
  • be an Arkansas resident;
  • be a resident of the district and respective electoral zone if elected from zones;
  • not be an employee of the district served;
  • not claim the right to vote in another county or state;
  • not presently be adjudged mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction;
  • never have been convicted of embezzlement of public money, bribery, forgery, or other infamous crime.

Get involved. Lives, families, and the present and future of your city, region and state depend on it.

Resources

Arkansas Department of Education Annual School Election Requirements and Timelines (Revised)
Arkansas Secretary of State 2016 Elections Calendar
Arkansas Ethics Commission School Board Candidate Guidance

November School Elections

Pulaski County Special School District (All seven zone positions are up for election this year)
Helena-West Helena School District (All five zones, two at-large positions are up for election this year)

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