State-By-State Summary of Laws Affecting Students on School Boards

 

What laws affect students on school boards?

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Engaging students on school boards does not require legal permission; however, many state and district school boards use laws as a reason whether or not to involve students. This page is a state-by-state summary of laws affecting students on district and state school boards, and was compiled for the SoundOut Students on School Boards Toobox.

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The practice of relying on laws can ensure rigor and sustainability in students’ roles.

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The following section identifies whether it is legal to involve students in 39 states. If a state is not listed, we do not currently have information. Please share your thoughts, ideas, information, concerns and other comments below.

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STATE

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Summary of the law(s) on student involvement on district and/or state school boards.
Alaska Alaska has two nonvoting students on their state school board. Title 4 of the Alaska Administrative Code requires the Alaska State Board of Education & Early Development to include two nonvoting public high school student members. Students are required to have two years of high school remaining at the time of appointment and serve a two-year term. During the first year, the selected student serves as advisory member-elect, and may participate in the work of the board, including debate and deliberation, but may not cast an advisory vote. During the second year, the advisory member-elect becomes the advisory member. The student advisory member may participate in board deliberation and debate, and casts a non-binding advisory vote, which is recorded but is not counted in determining the disposition of board matters. Students are eligible for appropriate state reimbursement. Each year the Alaska Association of School Governments may nominate three to five students for consideration to serve on the State Board. The State Board then chooses one of the AASG nominated students to serve as student advisory member-elect.
Arizona Students can join district and state level school boards; however, they cannot legally vote in Arizona.
California Students in California can join district and state level school boards. Students can legally vote. According to the California Education Code 33000.5, the Governor is required to appoint one student to serve on the California Board of Education with full voting rights.  The student must be a high school senior enrolled in a public school during his or her term.  The student serves a one-year term.  Students are eligible for appropriate state reimbursement, and California offers a $100 stipend for each day the student spends on official business.
Colorado In Colorado, students cannot legally join district school boards or vote on them.
Connecticut Students can legally join district and state school boards; they cannot legally vote on either in Connecticut. In 1998, the Connecticut General Statutes Title 10, Chapter 163 was amended to require the Commissioner to appoint a State Student Advisory Council on Education (SSACE). The legislation states that the Commissioner must ensure the council membership “(1) includes male and female students, (2) is racially, ethnically, and economically diverse, (3) includes students from each Congressional district in the state, and (4) includes students who have disabilities.” Students can serve on the council for up to three years, but cannot serve after high school graduation. The 1998 legislation also requires that the Connecticut State Board of Education include two nonvoting student members. Each student member on the State Board must be a public high school senior with at least a B+ grade point average.
Delaware Students in Deleware can legally join district school boards; they cannot vote on them.
Hawaii Students in Hawaii can join and vote on district school boards. Students can join the state school board; they cannot vote on the state school board. The Hawai‘i State Constitution, Article X, Section 2, requires that “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.
Idaho Students cannot join or vote on district school boards in Idaho.
Illinois Students in Illinois can join and vote on district school boards. Students can join the state school board; however, they cannot vote on the state school board.
Indiana Students in Indiana can join district school boards; however, they cannot vote.
Iowa There is no specific law regarding students joining or voting on district school boards in Iowa. Students can join the state school board; however, they cannot vote. The Iowa General Assembly House File 2515 states that the Governor of Iowa shall appoint one nonvoting student member from a list of candidates supplied by the Iowa State Board of Education.  The law states that only high school juniors or seniors are eligible for the position, and they must have attended Iowa public school for at least one year prior to serving on the State Board.  If the student does not graduate at the end of the first term, he or she may seek re-nomination from the Governor.  Students are eligible for appropriate state reimbursement.
Louisiana Students in Louisiana can join the state school board; however, they cannot vote.
Maine Students can join and vote on district school boards.
Maryland Students in Maryland can join district school boards; however, they cannot vote. Students can join and vote on the state school board. Education Article 2-202 of the Annotated Code of Maryland authorizes the Governor to appoint one student member to the Maryland State Board of Education.  The student must be a public high school junior or senior and serves a one-year term.  Student members of the Maryland State Board of Education have partial voting rights; they are excluded from votes concerning the budget, legal appeals, and the removal or reprimand of personnel.
Massachusetts Students in Massachusetts can join district school boards; however, they cannot vote. Students can join and vote on the state school board. The General Laws of Massachusetts Chapter 15, Section 1E require the establishment of five to fifteen Regional Student Advisory Councils and one State Student Advisory Council.  Each public secondary school is required by law to elect two students to its respective regional council.  All grade levels (9th – 12th) are eligible to vote and run for office.  The Regional Student Advisory Councils are charged with advising the State Student Advisory Council. 
Michigan Students in Michigan can join district school boards; however, they cannot vote.
Minnesota Students in Minnesota can join district school boards; however, they cannot vote. Students cannot join or vote on district school boards.
Mississippi Students cannot join or vote on the state school board in Mississippi.
Missouri Students cannot join or vote on the state school board in Missouri.
Montana Students can join the state school board in Montana; however, they cannot vote.
Nebraska Students cannot join or vote on district school boards in Nebraska.
Nevada Students in Nevada can join district and state school boards; however, they cannot vote on either.
New Hampshire Students can join and vote on district school boards in New Hampshire.
New Jersey Students in New Jersey can join district and state school boards; however, they cannot vote on either.
New Mexico Students in New Mexico can join district school boards; however, they cannot vote.
New York Students in New York can join district school boards; however, they cannot vote.
North Carolina Students in North Carolina can join district and state school boards. Students cannot vote on the state school board. According to the North Carolina General Statutes 115C-11, the governor of North Carolina is authorized to appoint “two high school students who are enrolled in the public schools of North Carolina as advisors to the State Board of Education.  The student advisors shall participate in State Board deliberations in an advisory capacity only.” 
Ohio Students in Ohio can join district school boards; however, they cannot vote. Students cannot vote on the state school board.
Oklahoma Students in Oklahoma can join district school boards; however, they cannot vote. Students cannot vote on the state school board.
Oregon Students in Oregon can join district school boards; however, they cannot vote. They cannot vote on the state school board either.
Pennsylvania Students in Pennsylvania can join district school boards; however, they cannot vote. Students cannot vote on the state school board.
Tennessee Students in Tennessee can join district and state school boards. They cannot vote on district school boards; however, they can vote on the state school board. The Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) 49-1-301 requires the Governor of Tennessee to appoint one public high school student to the State Board of Education.  The legislation states that “The high school student shall be of superlative standing and shall serve for a one-year term in an ex officio capacity.  The student member shall be appointed each year from nominees chosen by the local board of education in each school system at each board’s discretion, with no more than one student from each school system being nominated, and with the students having reached their junior or senior year in high school.”  Student Board members are granted full voting rights.
Texas Students cannot join or vote on district school boards in Texas.
Utah Students can join and vote on district school boards in Utah.
Vermont There is no specific law in Vermont regarding students joining or voting on district school boards. Students can join and vote on the state school board. Title 16, Chapter 3 of the Vermont Statutes states that the Governor of Vermont must use an application process that is “open and accessible to all eligible students” when appointing students to the State Board.
Virginia Students in Virginia can join district and state school boards; however, they cannot vote on either.
Washington Students in Washington can join district and state school boards; however, they cannot vote on either.
West Virginia Students cannot join or vote on district school boards in West Virginia.
Wisconsin Students in Wisconsin can join the state school board.
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