First-time board of education candidates may find the campaign process overwhelming. Many new school board members state their lack of experience in running a campaign made the task daunting. The Ohio School Boards Association has a wealth of resources to help as you run for a seat on your board of education. Barriers often cited by current board members include:
- how to create a candidate campaign
- how to find your county board of elections
- how to complete a nominating petition to run for your local school board
- understanding campaign finance
Board candidates often feel like they don't have an ideal network of community members that will support your campaign. Build off of the friends and community members who share your views on a successful future for your school district. Ask like-minded community members to bring a friend to a coffee talk or meet-and-greet so you can discuss your views. If you've participated in PTA/PTO, booster groups or other school-related organizations, invite like-minded members to learn about your campaign.
Learn more about creating your campaign in the OSBA webinar Campaign First Steps.
- To find your local school board and county board of elections visit www.runforoffice.org.
- Type in your address and hit enter.
- Click the blue word "Local" at the top.
- Click the blue words that describe the office that is of interest to you.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the address of your board of elections.
If you click the "I'm Interested" button if offers you the chance to sign up for their online course and purchase the Nation Builder software (build a website, create email lists, accept donations, etc.). (Please note: This is for informational purposes only. OSBA does not endorse Nation Builder software.)
Nominating petitions can be picked up from your county board of elections or downloaded from the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. There are a number of different nominating petitions that vary based on the elected position for which you will be running for. For example, the nominating petition for a city, local or exempted village school board member is form 3-T, whereas the nominating petition for an educational service center board member is 3-W. Make sure you use the correct nominating petition for the position you seek.
There are three main sections of the nominating petition:
- Statement of Candidacy: The candidate must fill in, sign and date this statement in ink before circulating the nominating petition. The statement of candidacy includes basic information about the candidate and the position they seek.
- Nominating Petition: The nominating petition is the section of the form where qualified electors of the district indicate their willingness to nominate you as a candidate for election to the board of education. Electors will be asked to provide their signature on the petition, along with their address.
- Circulator Statement:This is the section of the petition that is completed by the individual who circulated the petition, where they identify that they witnessed every signature, believe that everyone was qualified to sign and that the signature of the person aligned with the person they purported to be.
Nominating petitions must be submitted to your county board of elections by 4 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2023, the 90th day prior to the general election. A $30 filing fee must accompany your nominating petition.
View the OSBA webinar Campaign First Steps for additional information on completing the nominating petition, including information about circulating and gathering signatures for your petition.
Understanding campaign finance
Although a school board candidate campaign can be run on little funds, raising money for a campaign can seem overwhelming. Suggestions for raising funds include creating a campaign website and emailing notifications to your contacts to ask that they contribute to your campaign.
Below are suggestions on running a campaign with very little money:
- hold an exploratory meeting – close family/friends to explore the candidate’s viability, strengths/weaknesses
- hold a campaign fundraising event – can be held at candidate’s home, local library at no cost.
OSBA has several webinars discussing campaign finance: