School Boards

Students on School Boards in Hawaii

Here are facts about roles for students on school boards in Hawai’i.

District School Boards

  • In 1972, the Hawai’i State Department of Education reported that they encouraged local school boards to consider roles for students on school boards.
  • In 1972, they also reported there was a nonvoting student member on the state board of education.
  • Today, students in Hawaii cannot legally join or vote on district school boards.
  • There are 9 voting members, 11 members total, with one student serving as a non-voting member.

Hawai’i State Board of Education

  • Students can join the state school board.
  • There are 24 student advisors to the Hawai‘i State Board of Education.
  • There is one student member on the Hawai‘i State Board of Education.
  • Student advisors are chosen by public school students working through the Hawai‘i State Student Council.
  • Student advisors are 9th to 12th grade.
  • The student representative to the state board must be in grades 11 or 12.
  • Students serve one term and may be re-elected to their positions.
  • This position has been in place since 1988.
  • Law: The Hawai‘i State Constitution, Article X, Section 2, requires:
    • “The Hawaii State Student Council shall select a public high school student to serve as a nonvoting member on the Board of Education.”
    • The student serving on the State Board must be a public high school junior or senior and serves a one-year term.
    • The student is eligible for appropriate state reimbursement, and Hawai‘i offers a $100 stipend for each committee and full Board meeting attended.
  • Hawai‘i State Board of Education bylaws require each public secondary school in Hawai‘i to elect a student council.  Each school student council then elects representatives from its own membership to serve on a district student council.  Once elected, the seven district councils then each elect a total of 24 students from their own memberships to serve on the Hawai‘i State Student Council (HSSC).
  • The Hawai‘i State Student Council is charged with advising the Hawai‘i State Board of Education and selecting a student to serve on that board.
  • Each year, the Hawai‘i Department of Education and the Hawai‘i State Student Council send information and application materials for the student board position to all public high schools.  The HSSC interviews all candidates and generally selects two to three finalists.  The finalists are then interviewed during two live, call-in television forums on Hawai‘i public television.  The introductory and closing speeches of each candidate are recorded on video and distributed to all Hawai‘i public middle and high schools.  All public school students in grades 7 -12 are eligible to vote, and all schools are mandated to participate in the elections.  The finalist with the highest number of votes then serves on the Hawai‘i State Board of Education for a one-year term.


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