Voting procedures are an essential part of any democratic system, and school boards are no exception. When it comes to important decisions regarding district education policies, having a clear, established voting process can ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.
School boards vote on matters that might include hiring and firing key school employees, developing strategic plans, suspending a board member from the executive committee, and budget approval.
If you’re an elected member of a school board, you need to know some crucial voting procedures before casting your vote. Moreover, you need to understand the proposals you are voting for.
Doing this minimizes any voting misconduct while also ensuring that your voice is heard accordingly. This step-by-step guide walks you through the school board voting process for easier and faster decision-making.
School Board Voting Procedures: 4 Critical Steps
It’s imperative to follow the voting procedures required by your school district to ensure the most efficient board meetings. But before this, here are some key issues you need to understand.
- Each board member represents a single vote. Every member, including the chairperson of the school board, has one vote. However, some boards exclude chairpersons from voting. Suppose the board wants to avoid a conflict of interest. In that case, staff members like the executive may also be exempted from voting.
- Board votes should be recorded according to the school’s procedure and state guidelines. The board secretary should read the roll call during the voting process and ask each member to cast their vote loudly. When recording board votes, it is essential to be clear on the outcomes of a motion by stating whether it failed or passed. The secretary needs to do this by saying the number of votes in favor of the motion, those against it, and those in abstention. This procedure is in accordance with Robert’s Rule of Order, which requires the person in charge of board voting to record the total number of votes garnered by each side of the motion instead of saying whether it passed or failed.
Here are four steps that school boards can follow to vote smoothly and promote confidence in their outcomes:
Make a Motion
A motion is a formal proposal that can be tabled or debated in an upcoming meeting. To introduce a motion, make a statement and ask others to second your proposal. In a standing meeting, you can use phrases like “I move” or “I propose.”
You’re unlikely to need motions regularly, but they’re essential for bringing controversial items up for discussion in your next board meeting. For example, you may need to make some motions when choosing new board members. A good way to remember what’s involved with making a motion is that if it passes, your item becomes part of the agenda. However, if it fails, it gets dropped.
Accept a Second
When voting on a measure, board members can make a second to a motion, which is when a member formally supports another member’s position by saying, “I second your motion.”
There are no formal rules for seconding a motion, but a second may be used to gain more support for an idea. For example, if member A wants to buy computers for students, they might ask board members B and C for their support.
Call for Discussion
After a motion has been seconded, the chairperson should give time for members to channel their voices regarding the matter. This resolves concerns about different parties tabling the matter before the voting.
During the discussion stage, members should get their points across quickly and respectfully. According to Robert’s Rule of Order, a debate about any seconded motion should follow the following guidelines:
- The owner of the motion should speak first.
- Every member deserves a right to speak.
- Avoid mentioning members’ names.
- Members should direct all questions to the chairperson.
- Each member should only speak once where there are no special rules.
- The chair might allow a member to speak for a second time.
- Ideas should alternate between those supporting the motion and those opposing it.
Call for Vote
Once a motion passes the discussion stage, the chairperson asks members to vote. Those in favor of the motion vote by saying, “aye.” On the other hand, those opposing it vote by saying, “nay.” The measure will only pass if a majority of those present support it. In case of a tie, the motion is considered lost.
Some districts conduct votes by a show of hands. Others record votes electronically or by paper ballot. In either case, each member has only one vote. After voting ends, results are announced immediately and can be posted on your district’s website or shared via other means.
Can Board Members Vote Remotely?
Suppose a board member cannot vote in person at a regular or special meeting. In that case, the board can come up with procedures to follow in this scenario. Some school districts allow board members to participate remotely via electronic voting.
Even so, it’s always a good idea to check your district’s policies and ensure you understand how they work before you miss a vital board meeting. School districts should also choose updated and affordable virtual equipment to make the process smooth and save on costs.
eScribe Facilitates Improved School Board Effectiveness
A significant component of better school board effectiveness is improved voting. With our Vote Manager and Request to Speak tools, school boards can easily use technology to improve voting processes. Apart from allowing every board member to vote anytime and from anywhere, our system also guarantees transparency.
The Request to Speak feature lets the board chairperson run debates smoothly and organized. This tool also supports different vote types and comes with roll call, check-in/out, and pecuniary interest management. Request a quote today to enjoy a smooth, affordable, and modern school board voting experience.