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July 16, 2020

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School Board Elections
Running for School Board chalky text with books stacked to the side with an apple

The governance of the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township (MSDWT) is vested in a Board of Education, five persons who are elected by those citizens who reside within the MSDWT boundaries. While the responsibilities of serving as a member of the Board are great, the rewards gained through helping to shape the future of this outstanding community asset are many. You are urged to consider becoming a candidate for the Board of Education or to encourage others you may know to consider becoming candidates for the Board.

 

NOTE: While the vast majority of Washington Township (WT) residents are served by – and may vote in – MSDWT elections NOT ALL do. Those WT residents living within the old, pre-UniGov boundaries of the City of Indianapolis are served by the Indianapolis Public Schools and vote in IPS school board elections. See the MSDWT Board residence district election map for MSDWT boundaries.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES & QUALITIES

The Board of Education’s foremost duty is to determine and set policy and direction for the school district and to hire and supervise the Superintendent to manage the day-to-day operations of the schools. Other matters of major importance include oversight of financial affairs, educational program needs, and key school personnel. Board of Education members must also keep abreast of state and local legislative affairs.

 

A person who seeks a School Board position should be dedicated to serving the community, sincerely interested in education, willing to hear other views, and committed to gaining information necessary for decisions on all matters that come before the Board, with minimal compensation (approximately $4,000 per year). Candidates should consult the School Board Code of Ethics.

 

MANNER OF ELECTION & QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

Elections to seat members of the Board of Education are non-partisan and governed by the MSDWT Election Plan (December 9, 2015) and State and Federal law.

 

QUICK TAKE FOR VOTERS

  • ALL residents of MSDWT vote for ALL five seats on the Board.
    Under the Election Plan, a residence district applies to candidates only, not voters. All registered voters in MSDWT may cast votes for each seat appearing on the ballot regardless of the voter’s residence district. For example, a voter residing anywhere in the MSDWT boundaries may cast a ballot for all three Board seats to be filled in the November 3, 2020 election: District 1, District 3 and At-large. Two years later, a voter residing anywhere in the MSDWT boundaries may cast a ballot for both of the two Board seats to be filled during the November 1, 2022 election: District 2 and At-large.
  • ALL sitting Board members represent the ENTIRE school district.
    Once elected by the votes of residents across the entire MSDWT territory, Board members represent the entire school district regardless of the label (District 1,2,3, or At-large) placed on their seat for election purposes. The seat label is used only at the time of elections to ensure geographic balance on the Board (west-side, middle and east-side) and to simplify administration of the election.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR CANDIDATES (AND VOTERS)

Eligibility for Membership on Board

To be eligible to serve on the Board, a candidate must meet (1) all requirements or qualifications as provided by State law (consult the Election Division of the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office and legal counsel for a detailed list including, but not limited to, age, voter registration, criminal record, employment limitations, etc.), and (2) meet residency requirements of at least one year for the specific seat for which they are running as outlined in the Election Plan. MSDWT residents interested in running for the Board should consult appropriate election law, bodies, and counsel for assistance. This information provides only a general overview.

 

Term of Office

The term of office is four (4) years beginning January 1 of the calendar year following the Board member’s November election. There is no limit on the number of terms to which a member may be elected. Membership of the Board of Education constitutes the holding of a “lucrative office” as defined in Article 2, §9, of the Constitution of the State of Indiana (consult the Election Division of the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office and legal counsel for an explanation of the implications .such as not being eligible to serve in the Indiana General Assembly nor, generally, hold any other lucrative public office).

 

Election Date

All Board members are elected by popular vote of all voters residing within the entire geographical territory of MSDWT. Board members are elected at the general elections (first Tuesday of November). Three (3) members are elected in presidential election years. Two (2) members are elected two years later in congressional mid-term election years.

 

District & At-large Seats

For the purposes of election only, the five (5) seats on the Board of Education are divided into two types: residence district seats and at-large seats. Designating seats this way allows MSDWT to prevent geographic imbalance on the Board (i.e., all members from only the west side or only the east side) and simplifies the administration of elections. This is illustrated in the following table and explained in greater detail below.

Board Seats Up for Election
November 3, 2020

Residence
District
District 1 District 2 District 3
District
Seats
Candidate AKite
(Board Member through 2022)
Candidate B
At-Large
Seats
Turner
(Board Member through 2022)
Candidate C
(At-Large)

 

District Seats

At election time, three (3) of the five (5) Board seats are considered residence district seats and identified by three subdivisions of the MSDWT geographic territory: District 1 (west-side), District 2 (middle), and District 3 (east-side). The residence district boundaries are defined in Attachment A of the Election Plan. A map of these residence districts can also be accessed on the MSDWT and Marion County Election Board websites. Under the Election Plan, only residents of District 1 may be elected to the District 1 seat, only residents of District 2 may be elected to the District 2 seat, and only residents of District 3 may be elected to the District 3 seat.

As illustrated in the table above, Board seats for District 1 and District 3 will be on the ballot in the November 3, 2020 election. Any person running as Candidate A must reside in District 1. Any person running as Candidate B must reside in District 3.

 

At-large Seats

At election time, the final two (2) Board seats are identified as “at-large” seats. These two at-large seats may not be filled by residents living in the same residence district. As a result, no residence district (west-side, middle, or east-side) may have more than two Board seats and geographic balance on the Board is maintained. As the two at-large seats are filled in elections two years apart, the residence district of the sitting at-large member will determine which two of the three residence districts may produce eligible candidates for the at-large seat up for election.

As illustrated in the table above, one At-large board seat will be on the ballot in the November 3, 2020 election. Any person running as Candidate C must reside in either District 2 or District 3.

 

All Voters, All Seats

It is important to remember that all MSDWT voters casting a ballot may vote for all five seats on the MSDWT school board. In years with presidential elections like November 3, 2020, all voters in MSDWT may cast votes for three Board seats: District 1, District 3 and At-Large. Two years later during congressional mid-term elections like November 1, 2022, all voters residing in MSDWT may cast votes for two Board seats: District 2 and At-Large.

  • A voter’s residence district has NO bearing on the Board seat for which a MSDWT voter may cast a ballot; They may vote for all five Board seats.
  • A candidate’s residence district WILL impact which Board seat they may run for IF they choose to become a candidate.
  • Board seat labels are used solely at the time of elections to ensure geographic balance on the Board and to simplify administration of the election.

WHY DO WE HAVE GEOGRAPHICALLY DEFINED RESIDENCE DISTRICTS?

The short answer is that the residence districts are simply a tool to ensure geographic balance on the Board.

 

The parents that founded MSDWT in 1955 wanted to prevent geographic imbalance on the Board of Education (i.e., all members from only the west side or only the east side). Their solution was to create three geographically defined residence districts within the MSDWT boundaries and limit the number of sitting Board members from each residence district to no more than two.

 

All residents of MSDWT voted for candidates for all five Board seats regardless of the voters’ residence districts and all sitting members of the Board represented the ENTIRE school district regardless of their own residence district.

 

The current MSDWT Board Election Plan (December 9, 2015) preserves this system while also allowing the Marion County Election Board to simplify ballot instructions for voters, use modern electronic voting devices, and provide clearer election results.


(click to enlarge map)

 

  • DISTRICT I BOUNDARY LINES: Beginning at 86th St. and Township Line Rd. East on 86th to Harcourt Rd., South on Harcourt to 79th St., East on 79th to Spring Mill Rd., South on Spring Mill to 75th St., East on 75th to College Ave., South on College to 71st, West on 71st to Central Ave., South on Central to Washington Blvd., Northwest on Washington Blvd. to 71st St., West on 71st to Pennsylvania, South on Pennsylvania to the North Shore of White River, Southwest along the shore to a line which is the projection North of Boulevard Place, South from there to the Water Company Canal, Southwest along the North Shore of the canal to 38th St., West to Township Line Rd., North along the Western Township line to 86th.
  • DISTRICT II BOUNDARY LINES: Beginning at 96th St., and Township Line Road, South to 86th St., West on 86th to Harcourt Rd. South on Harcourt to 79th St., East on 79th to Spring Mill Rd., South on Spring Milito 75th St., East on 75th to College Ave., South on College to 71 st St., Southeast along the old City of Indianapolis boundary line to Westfield Blvd., South on Westfield to the While River, along the North Shore of While River to 64th St., projected West, along that projected line to 64th St., continuing to Evanston, South on Evanston to Broad Ripple Ave., East on Broad Ripple to Burlington, North on Burlington to McKinley St., West to Keystone Ave., North on Keystone to 71 st Str., East on 71st to Dean Rd., North on bean Rd. to 82nd St., and continuing Northwest as 82nd becomes 86th St., to Manderly, North on Manderly to 91st St., West on 91st to Kerwood, North on Kerwood (extended) to 96th St., West on 96th to Township Line Rd.
  • DISTRICT III BOUNDARY LINES: Beginning at Kerwood (extended) and 96th St., South on Kerwood to 91st., East on 91st to Manderly, South on Manderly to 86th St., East on 86th and Southeast as it becomes 82nd to Dean Rd., South on Dean Rd., to 71st St., West on 71st to Keystone Ave., South on Keystone to McKinley St., (extended east), along that line to Tacoma Ave., South on Tacoma to 62nd St., East on 62nd to Rural St., South on Rural to Kessler Blvd., East on Kessler to the Norfolk and Western railroad tracks, Southwest along the tracks to Keystone Ave., South on Keystone to 46th St., East on 46th to Penwood Dr., North on Penwood to Willowbrook Pkwy., East on Willowbrook as it becomes 47th St., to Fali Creek Pkwy. N. Dr. Southwest on Fall Creek to 46th St., East on the old City of Indianapolis bOundary line and East on 46th to Sherman, South on Sherman to 42nd St., East on 42nd to Berkshire Dr., North on Berkshire to Devon Dr., East on Devon to Emerson Ave., North on Emerson to Emerson Way, North on Emerson Way to Fall Creek Pkwy. N. Dr., East on Fall Creek to the East Township line, along the Township line to 62nd St., East on 62nd (extended) to the East line of the Township, North on that line to 96th St., West on the North Line of the Township to the beginning.

AG for POLICY 3231, 4231, 7540 – ELECTIONS

Administrative Guidelines for POLICY 3231, 4231, 7540 – ELECTIONS

Guidelines for Candidates

  • Candidates who are also parents of children in Washington Township Schools are free to support their children at events and activities during the election process.
  • Candidates may distribute campaign literature at schools or district property outside of the school day – at events, open houses, etc. The candidate must give at least 24 hours notice to the Principal and the Principal will designate an area for the candidate(s). Candidates or their workers will not be permitted to disrupt the educational process or any educational function in the process. Principals and their designees are the arbiters of the concept of “disruption of the process.” (For example, handing out literature at an open house should be done in a manner that does not interfere with people walking in or out of school or visiting classrooms.)
  • Candidates may contact a PTO to request campaigning at a PTO meeting or event. The PTO however must invite all other candidates to the same function and allow them to campaign in the same way.
  • MSD Washington Township exists to serve the educational needs of school age children within its jurisdiction. While schools teach about democracy and the elective process, the corporation must remain neutral with respect to election campaigns for public office. Therefore, in the interest of fairness and school corporation impartiality, no material directly or indirectly supporting or opposing a candidate or group of candidates currently seeking election for public office will be:
    1. displayed on school property except at an approved polling place on election day;
    2. distributed through staff mailboxes; or sent home with students
    3. District Communication Resources (phones, e-mail, mail system, faxes, etc.) shall not be used in political campaigns or elections to do the following: solicit donations, advocate for any candidate(s) or political party, recruit participants or volunteers
    4. No candidate will be furnished with school or district mailing or e-mail lists
  • When questions or conflicts arise related to these guidelines, the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent will be the final authority in determining the course of action.

Guidelines for School Staff

  • If a candidate contacts a principal, school employee, or a PTO as a candidate, the candidate should be directed to the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent. Exception: Candidate may contact the Principal to notify about attending an event to campaign per the guidelines.
  • The primary goal of building administrators and educators is to preserve the educational process and function in the schools at all times, including during the election season. Principals are directed not allow anything or anyone to disrupt that work.
  • No signs are permitted on school grounds – except on election day if a school or district building is a polling place
  • Candidates may distribute campaign literature at schools or district property outside of the school day – at events, open houses, etc. The candidate must give at least 24 hours notice to the Principal and the Principal will designate an area for the candidate(s). Candidates or their workers will not be permitted to disrupt the educational process or any educational function in the process. Principals and their designees are the arbiters of the concept of “disruption of the process.” (For example, handing out literature at an open house should be done in a manner that does not interfere with people walking in or out of school or visiting classrooms.)
  • MSD Washington Township exists to serve the educational needs of school age children within its jurisdiction. While schools teach about democracy and the elective process, the corporation must remain neutral with respect to election campaigns for public office. Therefore, in the interest of fairness and school corporation impartiality, no material directly or indirectly supporting or opposing a candidate or group of candidates currently seeking election for public office will be:
    1. displayed on school property except at an approved polling place on election day;
    2. distributed through staff mailboxes; or sent home with students.
    3. District Communication Resources (phones, e-mail, mail system, faxes, etc.) shall not be used in political campaigns or elections to do the following: solicit donations, advocate for any candidate(s) or political party, recruit participants or volunteers
    4. No candidate will be furnished with school or district mailing or e-mail lists
  • In MSDWT, as the exclusive bargaining agent for teachers, the WTEA has the right to have meetings with teachers in the schools. WTEA may invite political candidates to those meetings outside of the instructional day.
  • Staff may not use preparation time or any part of their contracted hours or school day to engage in political activities, unless they are using personal or Association leave.
  • When questions or conflicts arise related to these guidelines, the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent will be the final authority in determining the course of action.

Guidelines for PTO

  • If a candidate contacts a PTO as a candidate, the candidate should be directed to the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent. Exception: Candidate may contact PTO to request attending a meeting or PTO function.
  • If a building PTO invites candidates to address the group, all candidates must be invited.
  • When questions or conflicts arise related to these guidelines, the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent will be the final authority in determining the course of action.

Published September 21, 2009

Updated August 14, 2012

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