Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions about School Boards.

Q. How often does the school board meet?

A. The school board must meet four times a year, but it can meet more often if it so chooses (Education Act 2004 section 47(2)). 

Q . When does the school board meet?

A. It meets at the times determined by the board as a whole (Education Act 2004 section 47(1)).

Q. How long is a term of appointment to the board?

A. Members are elected from the date of their appointment for a period of at least 12 months and not more than 24 months (Education Act 2004 section 37). The general practice is to elect people for a period of 24 months, with half the board elected each year. This provides greater continuity of knowledge and skills on boards.

Q. Who can vote at the meetings?

A. All members (other than non-voting members) of school boards have a vote on each question to be decided at meetings (Education Act 2004 section 48 (6)).

 Non-voting members are:

  • School board appointed members in general schools
  • co-opted members in schools in special circumstances and school-related institutions.

Q. Who has the casting vote?

A. If the votes are equal, the member acting as chairperson has the casting vote (Education Act 2004 section 48 (6)).

Q. What is the quorum for meetings?

A. A quorum for a general school board meeting is three members, being:

  • a staff member
  • a parents and citizens member, and
  • one other member. In schools in special circumstances and school related institutions a quorum may be constituted differently. 

Q. Can both parents of a child at the school nominate for the board?

A. Yes.

Q. Can both parents in a household vote at a school election?

A. Yes.

Q. Are visitors welcome to attend school board meetings as observers?

A. School board members are appointed by the Returning Officer or by the school board. Due to the confidential nature of discussions visitors should not attend as observers. Visitors to a school board meeting must be invited and will usually attend for the agenda item that is relevant to them.

Q. Can the board declare itself a 'closed' meeting?

 A. In the event of the need to conduct a confidential discussion, the school board can declare itself a closed meeting or to be closed for a specific agenda specific item. This means that visitors cannot be invited to attend that meeting or for that agenda item. The agenda must provide information about a closed meeting or a closed agenda item.

Q: Following the amalgamation of preschools and primary schools in 2008, are schools required to have a preschool representative on the school board? 

A: Each school is implementing the requirement for the amalgamation of preschool and primary school governance structures in a way that suits the local school community. Principals are encouraged to manage the amalgamation in the most appropriate way. Parents and carers of preschool children are members of the school Parents and Citizen's Association and are able to nominate for election as Parents and Citizen's members of the school board. Many school boards have invited parents and carers of preschool children to become board appointed members or to attend board meetings as observers.