When a School Board Member transfers his residency outside of the district he serves, is an automatic vacancy created on the School Board?
No. When a Board Member is no longer a resident, he or she may be removed from office by a majority vote of the remaining members of the school board, but no automatic vacancy is created. Op. Atty Gen. 98-193.
Ark. Const. Art. 19 4 and Ark. Code Ann. 6-13-616 require that Board Members of political subdivisions be qualified electors, which means that a Member must legally reside within the district he serves. If the Member moves from the zone from which he or she was elected, but remains within the district, he or she may continue to serve on the Board until the next election term for which his seat is eligible. At that time, the Member must run for office from the zone in which he or she resides.
Ark. Code Ann. 6-13-613(f) provides as follows: “Should a local school board member accept employment at a distance from the district such that it renders the maintenance of his residence in the district impossible or impracticable, should he remove his actual, bona fide residence outside the district boundaries, on other than a temporary basis … his office as a school board member, and any positions held thereon, may be declared vacant by a majority vote of the remaining school board members, and his successor shall be appointed as prescribed by law.”
The remaining School Board Members should take into account several factors when determining whether a vote should be held to remove the non-resident Member from the Board, including whether the Member’s distance from the Board renders attendance and participation impracticable, the remaining length of the Member’s term, the stated wishes of the Member, and other concerns or wishes of the remaining Board Members. Member schools should contact the APSRC legal department with any issues or questions that arise in this area.
Originally published on 12/18/2014; APSRC Legal Briefs, from www.APSRC.net, accessed 10/27/17.