Board of Education Members

Qualifications, Number and Terms of Office. 

A Board consisting of seven persons elected from geographic districts for four-year staggered terms will govern the District.  All Board members must be qualified electors of the state of New Mexico, physical residents of the geographic districts from which they are elected or from which they are appointed and physical residents in the District on the date of the school Board’s proclamation calling a regular school district election.  A vacancy on the Board will be filled in accordance with the provisions of the New Mexico State Statutes.

A convicted felon is not qualified to be appointed or elected to public office unless pardoned or restored to political rights.

Representation and Establishment of District Boundaries

Each Board Member is elected in a non-partisan election from a legally defined geographic area.  Each area is balanced (within a range of ± 5%) with the other areas according to the population living within the school district boundaries.  These geographic areas are called districts and must be redefined following each census to ensure equal representation. Our District is organized into seven districts.

Oath of Office. 

Before entering into his or her duties, each member of the Board will take an oath of office to administer the duties of his or her office faithfully, impartially, and in accordance with the law.  A record of the oath will be filed in the office of the Executive Administrative Assistant of the Board.  

Swearing-In Ceremonies

Being elected to serve the community as a Board of Education member is a major event. The Board office has a checklist for newly elected Board members to assist with planning the event.

Board Member Authority and Responsibilities. 

All powers of the Board lie in its action as a public body.  A member of a board of education is a public officer, but has no authority or power individually.  Individual Board members exercise authority over District affairs only by way of votes taken at a legal meeting of the Board.  An individual Board member has authority only when and to the extent that the Board, by vote, has so delegated such authority.

A board shall not be bound in anyway by an action or statement made on the part of an individual board member except when such action or statement is pursuant to specific instructions from the respective board.

Individual board members duties include to:

  • Make the education and well-being of students the top priority of all decision making
  • Attend Board and Committee meetings to perform the business of the District in person or through a conference call when possible
  • Discuss issues with constituents
  • Perform ceremonial duties that acknowledge
    • long-term employees
    • retirees
    • school graduations
    • special achievements of employees and students
    • important school events
  • Act legally as a Board member only when the Board of Education or the Committee is in session; or when authorized by the Board
  • Recognize his or her responsibility as one of ensuring that the schools and the District are well run by the administration and not one of running the schools or District
  • Be well acquainted with school policies
  • Remember that Board business at times requires confidentiality, especially in processes involving personnel, legal matters, and land acquisition
  • Know that the reputation of the entire school District is reflected in his/her behavior and attitude
  • Refer all complaints and requests to the Service Center and/or the Superintendent or designee as necessary for resolution
  • Listen to constituents, but refrains from discussing any matters that involve pending litigation or personnel issues
  • Use ethical and moral judgment in all decisions
  • Be responsible for contacting a Board or Committee member when a meeting is missed, to learn of the discussions and activities in the missed meeting

Although Board Members are elected from a specific district, they must balance their accountability to the District as a whole.  The Board tradition has been that decisions are made in the best interests of the students District-wide.  Each Board Member has an important role to play, not only for his or her district, but also for the District overall.

Board Member Required Trainings

The Public Education Department’s regulation states that all local school board members must have a total of five hours of training annually at sessions sponsored by the New Mexico School Boards Association (NMSBA) in collaboration with the Public Education Department (PED).

For newly elected or appointed local school board members (less than a year), three of the five hours must be gained from attending a training course developed by the Public Education Department and sponsored by the NMSBA.  The course shall be offered according to law, no later than three months after the local school board election.

All existing local school board members need to attend five hours of annual training sponsored by NMSBA and/or approved by PED.

The Public Education Department will periodically announce the dates of courses/training to fulfill the five hours which will cover numerous topics including PED policies and procedures, statutory power and duties of local boards, legal concepts pertaining to public schools, finance and budget.

Each attendee must comply with written procedures established by the PED to be credited with attendance at these courses.

PED in conjunction with the NMSBA shall provide the local school district with training hours for each local board annually by September 1.

The New Mexico Public Education Commission also approved that the following types of training receive credit for the state-mandated training statute:

  • Public Education Department Workshops
    • Workshop for newly elected or newly appointed board members will be held at the Board Institute in February or March (“new” defined as having been on the board for fewer than 6 months)
    • Workshops such as the Spring Budget Workshop
    • NMSBA Conference Sessions, including Celebrating Educational Opportunities for Hispanic Students Conference
    • Region Meetings (one-hour training component)
    • Individual Board Trainings Sanctioned or Sponsored by NMSBA
    • Other types of training approved by the Public Education Department and New Mexico School Boards Association

Code of Ethics

1. Make the education and well-being of students the basis for all decision making;

2. Understand that the legal authority of the board is derived from New Mexico Statutes and Administrative Code, which determine the degree of power delegated to the board for local decisions;

3. Speak on behalf of the board only when the board by official action provides authorization to do so; and respect the confidentiality of information that is privileged under applicable law;

4. Establish an open, two-way communication process with students, staff, families and all segments of the community;

5. Become informed of issues brought before the board and participate in discussions and debates, while respecting the rights of other board members to have opinions and ideas that differ;

6. Accept responsibility and accountability for one’s own actions and behaviors;

7. Avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof and refrain from using the board position for personal or partisan gain;

8. Recognize that board members have no legal authority outside board meetings, and that all decisions of the board will be made at public meetings where a quorum of the board is present and only after a thorough review of all the available information;

9. Delegate authority for the administration of the schools to the superintendent and establish a process for accountability of administrators;

10. Support persons best qualified to serve as school staff and make every effort to ascertain that all employees are properly remunerated for services, and that they are dealt with fairly in the performance of their duties;

11. Study educational issues and participate in professional development to enhance individual ability to serve as a board member; and

12. Attend all scheduled board meetings insofar as possible.

Conflict of Interest

All Board of Education members shall comply with the New Mexico Governmental Conduct Act.  All Board of Education members shall read and comply with the APS conflict of interest policy and procedural directive.  The Board of Education members shall complete a conflict of interest disclosure form on an annual basis.

Board Member Per Diem and Travel

§22-5-5, NMSA 1978, provides that school board members will serve without compensation and that no member will be employed in any capacity by the district during the entire term for which the member was elected, even if the board member resigns from the board before the end of the term.

A board member, however, is entitled to per diem for in-state or out-of-state travel while performing official duties as a board member.  Also, reimbursement for mileage is allowable.  The rate to be paid shall be established by policy of the board and in accordance with the Per Diem and Mileage Act. See below.

Each Board member is eligible for per diem payments for attending meetings and for out-of-district travel allotments to help offset the costs of doing Board business.  In-district business is considered attendance at Board and Committee meetings or other official business.  The Board office staff will explain the district forms and procedures to new Board members. Two out-of-state training conferences and all in-state meetings of the New Mexico School Boards Association and other in-state education-related conferences are allowed annually for each Board member, pending budget availability.

Board Member Resignation. 

Any Board member who desires to resign from the Board shall send a letter of resignation to the Board in care of the office of the Superintendent giving the effective date of resignation.  The resigning Board member should furnish a copy of such letter to all other members of the Board and the Secretary of Public Education prior to the date on which the resignation is to become effective.

Board Member Removal from Office. 

Pursuant to §22-5-12 NMSA 1978, if a Board member misses four (4) consecutive regular meetings, the office of such a member may be declared vacant by a majority vote of the remaining members.  If a member misses six (6) consecutive regular meetings the office of such member shall be automatically vacated.  Board members may also be recalled through the procedures set forth in state law.

Unexpired Term Fulfillment. 

The Board shall have the power to fill a vacancy in their membership through an appointment by a majority vote of the remaining members.  An appointee will hold the office until the next succeeding election for members of the Board.

If a qualified person is not appointed to fill the vacancy or a special election is not called by the Board within forty-five (45) days from the date the vacancy occurred, the Secretary of Public Education shall appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy until the next succeeding regular Board election.

In the event of the resignation and/or removal of a majority of the members of the Board, the Secretary of Public Education shall appoint qualified persons to fill the vacancies.  Those persons appointed shall hold office until the next regular or special school district election when an election shall be held to fill the vacancies for the unexpired terms.

Board of Education Member:     Policy and Instruction Committee Chair

Department Director:                   Board of Education Services Office Executive Director

References:

Legal Cross Ref.:                                §22-5-4 NMSA 1978
Board Policy Cross Ref.:                    BB – Board of Education Legal Status, Powers and Responsibilities
                                                           BB1 – Board Member Authority
                                                           BB2 – Board Membership
                                                           BC – Board Member Conduct and Conflict of Interest

Procedural Directive Cross Ref.:       

NSBA/NEPN Classification:        BB, BC

Introduced: November 11, 2015
Adopted:
November 18, 2015

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