Seating newly elected board members in 2020

New board members may first take office on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020:

The date to seat new board members has created some confusion in the past. To avoid a situation where board members are seated before the results of the election are officially certified, Assembly Bill 2449 (2018) changed the seating date for newly elected school district and county board of education members to the second Friday in December following their election. Board members may note that Education Code section 5000 still states that a board member’s four-year term expires on the first Friday in December, but Education Code section 5017 requires board members to continue to discharge their duties until their successor has qualified by taking the oath of office, allowing for newly elected board members to commence their term on the second Friday in December and for existing board members to continue their term until such time.

Under Board Bylaw 9110 (and County Board Bylaw 9220), the term of office for board members elected in regular elections is four years, commencing on the second Friday in December following their election. Board members elected this November are first able to take office on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020.

As stated in Board Bylaw 9100, the Governing Board is required to hold an annual organizational meeting within a 15-day period beginning from the date upon which a newly elected board member takes office. (Education Code section 35143.) This meeting may either be a regular or special meeting as established by the board at its last regular meeting held prior to the first day of the 15-day period (Dec. 11, 2020).

Board member oaths may be taken remotely:

Board members are required to take the oath or affirmation set forth in Section 3 of Article 20 of the Constitution of California. (Government Code section 1360.) The oath may be administered and certified by a board member, secretary or assistant secretary to the board, superintendent, deputy or assistant superintendent, principal or county superintendent of schools or any other person authorized in Education Code section 60 or Government Code 1225. The executed oath shall be filed with the county clerk.

The Government Code is silent as to the place or medium where the oath is to be administered. Boards therefore may conduct the oath remotely over Zoom or other medium, to ensure public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, as long as the other requirements described in Board Bylaw 9224 are met.

Please note that the information provided here by CSBA is for informational purposes and is not legal advice. Please contact your district or county office of education’s legal counsel for legal questions related to this information.