2019 School Board Elections

Get on Board logoInterested in serving on your K-12 or community college school board? 

The Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) provides information for community members who are interested in serving on their local K-12 or community college school board. School board members are elected by their local communities in an election held the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November in odd-numbered years. The next few regular school elections will take place on the following dates:

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019
Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021
Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023

IASB develops a toolkit each election cycle that can help interested citizens understand school boards in Iowa and their role, qualifications and steps to become a school board candidate, rewards of school board service and more. This toolkit will be available in late June/early July 2019.

As you consider running in the next school election, think about what board service means to you. You can make a difference for students, your community, and ultimately the future of Iowa. Invest in the future—get on board. 

For questions, email Tammy Votava.

Candidate Resources

Guide for Iowa School Board Candidates

This handy guide covers the need-to-know basics about school boards in Iowa, rewards of service, qualifications to become a candidate for school board, Iowa's campaign finance laws, tips for campaigning, conflict of interests and gifts, and more.

Filing Basics 101: Become a Candidate for the School Board

School board members for school districts and community colleges are elected by their local communities on Nov. 5, 2019. Watch this short video to learn about qualifications to be on the ballot and how to file paperwork.

School Board Elections FAQ

Are you a candidate running for your local school or community college board? You likely have many questions. Check out the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about school board elections, or download the FAQ PDF. If you don't find the answer you are looking for, contact Tammy Votava.

School Board Member Testimonials

If you're unsure whether board service is right for you, check out these testimonials from current school board members. Discover why they serve and gain a better understanding of whether board service is a good fit for you.

Voices from the Field: Watch guidance from current and former school board members and an experienced superintendent for candidates considering board service. Note: This video was filmed in 2015.

Iowa Secretary of State's School Elections Resources

Visit the Iowa SOS school elections website for a variety of resources including:
Candidate's Guide
Affidavit of Candidacy
Nomination Petition

Iowa Board of Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Resources

Visit the Board of Ethics and Campaign Disclosure website for information on topics including:
Political advertising disclaimers
Permitted and prohibited corporate activity
Independent expenditures/in-kind contributions
Duties of a committee treasurer
Civil penalties
Out-of-state contributions
Prohibition in use of public funds for political purposes
Guidelines for campaign fundraising

Board Secretary Resources

Board Secretary Checklist

Use this checklist to help as you are assembling packets of information for citizens interested in running for your school board.

Sample Press Release

Customize this press release and send to your local media to share information regarding the school elections, open seats, where to pick up information and more.

Sample Questions for Candidate Forums

These sample questions are intended as a starting place when developing questions for candidate forums or publications.

Customizable Newspaper Ad Promoting Board Service and Key Dates

Submit an ad to your local newspaper to increase awareness of the open seats in your district. You can add your district logo and address, simply click 'edit PDF' and add the logo and address.
Download 3.5 x 4.3 PDF
Download 3.5 x 7.5 PDF

Customizable Social Media Graphics Promoting Board Service and Key Dates

Download a Facebook or Twitter PDF, edit and add your logo and mailing address, save as JPEG file format, and post to your social media channels.
Facebook Graphic
Twitter Graphic

Sample 30 Second Public Service Announcement Promoting Board Service

Download and customize this sample public service announcement promoting board service.

Key Dates for November 2019 School Board Elections

If you are preparing for the fall school board elections, these key dates can help. Download a PDF outlining the key dates. 

Aug. 26: First day to file nomination papers with the board secretary.

Sept. 19: Last day to file nomination papers with the board secretary. Deadline is 5 p.m.

Sept. 20: Board secretaries deliver nomination papers to controlling commissioner. Deadline is noon.

Sept. 21: Vacancies or resignations on a school board occurring after this date must be filled at the school board election if a valid petition for election is filed. Any appointments made will be temporary until the election. Note that this is a Saturday.

Sept. 24: Last day candidates may withdraw. Last day written objections to nomination papers or eligibility of candidates may be filed. Deadline is 5 p.m.

Nov. 5: School election day. Polls are open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

Nov. 12 or 13: Tier 1 canvass of votes for all school districts: first Monday or Tuesday after the election, unless these dates fall on a legal holiday, then it pushes back one day. This is the only and final election canvass for school districts located within one county.

Nov. 18 or 19: Tier 2 canvass of votes for districts whose boundary lines fall within multiple counties: second Monday or Tuesday after the election. This is the second and final election canvass for those districts. 

Annual Meeting vs. Organizational Meeting: Review the differences between an Annual Meeting and Organizational Meeting, and read guidance on when these meetings should take place with the school elections change from September to November in odd-numbered years.

Dates vary: No date is legally specified for the organizational meeting. It is the board's first regular or special meeting following the final canvass. During this meeting, the board organizes for the new term.

Candidate Education

Download a PDF outlining all the education opportunities for candidates and newly elected board members.

Save the Dates! Tuesday Talks with IASB: So You Want to Run for the School Board?

We are offering a live informational series for candidates to get up-to-speed on a range of elections-related topics. These will be offered in a variety of platforms, including Zoom and Facebook Live and will be recorded and posted on this webpage.

While we recommend that candidates attend all four, this first webinar on Aug. 20 is an essential first step for any individual interested in running for the board.

Aug. 20: Running for the School Board: Essential Tips for CandidatesRECORDED WEBINAR NOW AVAILABLE!
In this timely webinar, we help candidates understand what serving on a school board entails, how to prepare for meaningful board service, the potential landmines to avoid, key filing dates and more.

View PDF
Note: During the IASB Webinar Running for the School Board: Essential Tips for Candidates held on Aug. 20, we received a question from a participant. As promised, we have provided the question and answer in this Webinar Question & Response document.

Sept. 10: Maintaining Your Community’s Trust: Legal & Ethical Campaigns for the School Board, Noon-1 p.m.RECORDED WEBINAR NOW AVAILABLE!
Hear from experts about important provisions in the Iowa Ethics Campaign Finance Disclosure Laws, conflict of interest and gift laws, and tips for campaigning.

View PDF

Sept. 24: Confessions of a School Board Member: Perks and Pitfalls, Noon-1 p.m.
Hear insights from newer and veteran board members on “what I wish I would have known.” We’ll dig into topics such as roles of the board vs roles of staff, board time commitments and ethics.

Register Now

Oct. 8: School Board Service: Equity and Excellence for ALL—Are You Ready? Noon-1 p.m.

When asked, most board members say they run for the board to make a difference for students. This discussion will help candidates consider what it takes to keep the board team’s focus on every child they serve and to help minimize the distractions of the Killer B’s: buses, buildings, books and budgets.

Register Now

New Board Member Education