By Jennifer Wohlleb
Even though the 2014 legislature made no changes affecting school board filing requirements for the 2014 cycle, school board candidates are encouraged to make sure they have all their bases covered before the Aug. 12 election filing deadline.
KSBA’s updated 2014 election packet is available on the association’s website and can help candidates avoid common pitfalls, said KSBA staff attorney John Fogle.
“The packet provides basic background on election finance considerations, board eligibility and we provide information and forms on the oaths of office,” he said. “Our Board Team Development folks have included a ‘What Every Candidate Should Know’ guidance document, which provides an overview of the role of board members and some of the legal requirements regarding the scope of the board’s authority. This provides useful background information to anyone interested in running for school board.”
The packet also includes a list of frequently asked questions, a summary of finance law requirements, responsibilities for complying with campaign finance laws, sample affidavit for school board candidacy, and a summary of conflicts of interests for school board members.
Fogle said finance seems to be the area that generates the most concern for candidates.
“A key campaign finance document discussed in the packet for people to be aware of is the Candidate Guide to Campaign Finance, which can be found at the website of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance at KREF.gov,” he said. “That’s a very thorough guide on the appointment of a treasurer and the requirements that apply to reporting campaign donations.”
Fogle also reminded candidates about some campaign contribution restrictions.
“Something that board candidates always need to be aware of is the prohibition in KRS 161.164 on soliciting or accepting money or services from school employees,” he said. “That’s not in the election law, per se, but that is a key thing to be aware of because a violation can result in disqualification from office and even criminal penalties.”
Nominating petitions must be obtained from and filed with the local county clerk’s office, which also has the required “Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Optional Reporting Exemption” and affidavit forms. KSBA does not provide these forms. Candidates must obtain on their nominating petition the signatures of at least two people who are legally eligible to vote for the person running for office. It must include the date and candidate’s signature, as well as the petitioners’ addresses and dates of birth.
The petition and the appointment of treasurer form, as well as the Affidavit for School Board Candidacy, must be filed with the County Clerk no later than 4 p.m. (local time), Aug. 12.
“The affidavit covers eligibility issues and the level of education,” Fogle said. “You have to be a high school graduate or have a GED.”
He said when appointing a treasurer, candidates also set the level of fundraising they plan to undertake.
“The greater the level of fundraising, the more rigorous the campaign finance reporting requirements are, in a nutshell,” he said. “The county clerk will send the appointment of treasurer documentation to the Registry of Election Finance, which in turn gets in touch with the candidate and directs them to a Web-based welcome packet. Candidates really have to follow those limitations and the reporting requirements. There are no reports due to the registry if the intent is to raise $1,000 or less. It gets more rigorous based on the increased intent to raise more funds. There are also guidelines applicable to amending the registry forms. Any questions regarding these issues should be directed to the registry.”
— Click here to access the complete election packet.