Legal Update Memo No. 09-2023 – 2023 Organizational Meetings – Not an Election Year (K-12)

Download PDF: 09-2023 REVISED 2023 Organizational Meetings – Not an Election Year (JH)

ORGANIZATIONAL MEETINGS

(Education Code § 35143)

Each school district and county office of education is required to hold an annual organizational meeting. In an election year, a school district organizational meeting must be held on a day within the fifteen (15) day period that commences with the date upon which a governing board member elected at that election takes office (the second Friday in December). In years in which no regular election for governing board members is conducted, the organizational meeting is held during that same fifteen day period. Exceptions to this rule are discussed below. Because this is not an election year, the organizational meeting must be held between December 8, 2023 and December 23, 2023.

Organizational meetings should be held as follows:

  1. Governing Boards of School Districts

In an election year, the organizational meeting must be held within 15 days of the second Friday in December. In years that are not election years, the organizational meeting may take place on “any date in December,” but no later than December 20. (Ed. Code § 35143). Unless otherwise provided by a rule of the Governing Board, the date of the organizational meeting must be selected by the Board at its regular meeting held immediately prior to December 1st (presumably the regular November board meeting). Boards can choose to hold the organizational meeting on the date already set for their regular December meeting if it conforms to the “window” described above.

  1. Governing Boards of School Districts Governed by a City Charter

These Boards have the option of holding their organizational meetings as described above, or may hold their organizational meeting between December 15th and January 14th, if so provided by the Governing Board rules. (Ed. Code § 35143).

  1. County Boards of Education

For county boards, their organizational meeting shall be the first meeting on or after the second Friday in December. For county boards whose members are elected in June, the organizational meeting shall be held on or after the first day in July. (Ed. Code § 1009.)

            Annual Organizational Meeting – Rules

Education Code section 35143 provides as follows:

(a) The governing board of each school district shall hold an annual organizational meeting. In a year in which a regular election for governing board members is conducted, the meeting shall be held on a day within a 15-day period that commences with the second Friday in December following the regular election. Organizational meetings in years in which no such regular election for governing board members is conducted shall be held on any date in December, but no later than December 20. Unless otherwise provided by rule of the governing board, the day and time of the annual meeting shall be selected, in a year in which a regular election for governing board members is conducted, by the board at its regular meeting held immediately before the first day of such 15-day period, or in a year in which no such regular election for governing board members is conducted, by the board at its last regular meeting held immediately before the organizational meeting. The board shall notify the county superintendent of schools of the day and time selected. The clerk of the board shall, within 15 days before the date of the annual meeting, notify in writing all members and members-elect of the date and time selected for the meeting.

(b) If the board fails to select a day and time for the meeting, the county superintendent of schools having jurisdiction over the district shall, before the first day of such 15-day period and after the regular meeting of the board held immediately before the first day of such 15-day period, designate the day and time of the annual meeting. The day designated shall be within the 15-day period. The county superintendent of schools shall notify in writing all members and members-elect of the date and time.

(c) At the annual meeting the governing board of each high school district, union high school district, and joint union high school district shall organize by electing a president from its members and a clerk.

(d) At the annual meeting each city board of education shall organize by electing a president from its members.

(e) At the annual meeting the governing board of each other type of school district, except a community college district, shall elect one of its members clerk of the district.

(f) As an alternative to the procedures set forth in this section, a city board of education whose members are elected in accordance with a city charter for terms of office commencing in December, may hold its annual organizational meeting required in this section between December 15 and January 14, inclusive, as provided in rules and regulations that shall be adopted by such board. At the annual meeting the city board of education shall organize by electing a president and vice president from its members who shall serve in such office during the period January 15 next to the following January 14, unless removed from such office by majority vote of all members of the city board of education.

Note that section 35143(a) permits a district, by local rule, to choose a different date for its organizational meeting. Best practice is for the Board to designate a different meeting date prior to the December regular meeting.

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The information in this Legal Update is provided as a summary of law and is not intended as legal advice.  Application of the law may vary depending on the particular facts and circumstances at issue.  We, therefore, recommend that you consult legal counsel to advise you on how the law applies to your specific situation.

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