School board members make decisions that have significant and long-term consequences for their students, schools and communities. To equip school board members with the necessary knowledge to fulfill their responsibilities, the Arkansas General Assembly requires board members to receive and report annual training.
The complex challenges of education require policymakers and administrators to address problems from multiple perspectives and across disciplines. As a result, school board members benefit from instruction in the following areas:
- School laws and regulations
- Improving student achievement
- School finance
- Community relations
- School operations
- Effective governance
ASBA develops seminars, conference sessions and customized training programs that provide information on these and other topics.
In 2009, the Legislature revised the statute outlining the powers and duties of school board members. Click here for § 6-13-620 which describes what board members may do in their elected roles. In 2011, the Legislature passed a requirement that school board members receive training in how to read and interpret an audit. That law, now Act 1213, is linked here. The law that addresses board training and reimbursement is § 6-13-629, which is linked here.
A.C.A. § 6-13-629 requires annual professional development for Arkansas school board members:
- All school board members must acquire at least six (6) hours of training every calendar year.
- Newly elected board members must achieve at least nine (9) hours of training by December 31 of the calendar year that follows the calendar year of their initial election.
- School districts must publish in their annual reports the number of training hours each board member has earned.
- If a board member fails to meet the annual training requirement, the board member must be removed from the school district board of directors unless:
- The board member received the number of training hours the board member was deficient within a thirty (30) day cure period that begins after the school district’s January board meeting; or
- The reason the board member was unable to receive the number of deficient training hours during the cure period was due to the board member’s military service or an illness that is attested by the board member’s treating physician.
- Failure for the board to remove a board member who failed to meet the annual training requirement and who does not meet one of the above exceptions may result in the school district being placed on probationary status for violating the Standards For Accreditation.
- The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education rules allow carryover of excess board training hours for up to three calendar years.
Recognizing the important role the school board has in maintaining the school district’s fiscal status, the Arkansas General Assembly requires that the initial nine (9) hours of training a board member receives include training related to how to read and interpret a school audit.
ASBA hosts numerous conferences and seminars every year which provide board members with approved training credit to meet the state requirement. Please visit the Conference & Workshop Opportunities page for a wide range of professional development opportunities or the Upcoming Events page.