You Run Your Schoolboard
A guide for creating change in your local school board.
Why Should You Engage?
School boards have power over all the issues you care about. You have a local board of trustees who represent you—who work for you. That means students have power to make change on everything from racial justice to health to gun violence prevention and more.
There are so many ways to reach your school board representatives. You can email them, speak at a hearing, deliver a petition, and more. Check out our advocacy guide to learn more.Learn More
Funding Our Education
Everyone deserves resources for a quality education. Many elected officials determine the school budget:
The Texas Legislature writes the statewide budget, which the Governor signs. 92% of all Texas public education funding is determined at the state level!
Your school board is funded by this state budget, as well as from the federal government and local property taxes. Your district school board must propose a new budget every summer based on this funding. They hold hearings during this process, where you can speak up for the resources you need! That can include building renovations, extracurricular equipment, school counselors, and more.
About Local School Boards
Every school district has a local school board that sets district policies and works with the superintendent. Texas gives a lot of power to local boards to set goals and priorities for students, adopt policies, hire and evaluate the superintendent, adopt a budget, and set local tax rates. Every board member/trustee is elected. A school board has 7 or 9 trustees depending on the district. These are unpaid positions with no term limits.
How Your Local School District Affects…
Curriculum and Libraries
Local school boards set policies and district goals. School board members can force your teachers and librarians to ban books and censor your curriculum – or they can work with students, families, and teachers to craft policies to ensure that all students feel welcomed and supported in their classrooms.
Local school boards control the budget, which means they can determine which schools get resources like counselors and specialized classes, and which students will have to go without opportunities like honors classes and development assistance.
Your local school district sets district health policies. During the pandemic, some districts adopted preventative measures such as masking and social distancing to protect students, staff, and families.
School district budgets can fund more counselors, mental health programming, and additional supports for students.
Local school boards can encourage schools to teach accurate lessons about climate change. They can also promote environmentally conscious practices.
Gun Violence Prevention
All Texas districts must make emergency operations and behavioral threat assessment plans. Districts can fund violence prevention, educate parents about safe storage of firearms, and cease active shooter drills that traumatize students instead of addressing gun violence.
In 2020, following protests for Black lives, some districts worked with students to pass racial equity plans. Many districts now face backlash to ban books by Black writers and censor students. Supportive school board members can strengthen these plans to ensure all students have a safe & just learning environment.
School is a place where young Texans can learn how to speak up and make change in their communities. Districts can prepare students for lifelong engagement by promoting voter registration, partnering with external civic programs, and even by organizing student advisory panels where students work directly with board trustees to influence decisions.
Districts can create a safe and welcoming learning environment for LGBTQ+ students through inclusive curriculum, programming, and district policies.
School board members also make decisions about police in schools and disciplinary actions that disproportionately harm Black and disabled students without increasing safety.
Your Local Voter Toolkit
Find a Polling Place
If you’re voting early
Registered and eligible voters may vote at ANY early voting location located in the county of residence. Whether you are at home, work, or out running errands, you will be able to find a polling place near you.
To find a polling place: Visit My Voter Page two days prior to the first day of early voting. Polling place hours vary at each early voting site.
If you’re voting on Election Day
In some counties, like Travis & Harris County, you can vote at any polling place in the county on Election Day!
In other counties, you will need to go to your assigned voting location. Visit My Voter Page to find your assigned polling place. Polling place hours vary at each early voting location.
For questions regarding polling places, you can always consult your County Elections Office.
Know Your Ballot
Before you go to your polling place, make sure that the school board members you vote for align with your values. Important school board races will be happening in these key Texas districts*:
While we linked various resources above, you can find more information about your local school board races through vote411.org, your local League of Women Voters, your local newspapers, and candidate websites.
*The list above is not comprehensive. If you don’t see your local district, you can check your local ballot here.
★ In-person early voting: April 24 to May 2
★ Last day to apply for Vote by Mail (VBM) ballot: April 25
★ Election Day and last day for Vote by Mail Ballot to be received: May 6
Have the Right I.D.
Make sure that you bring the right form of ID to your voting place. Know your options if you don’t have the right kind of identification, or run into any issues with your address, ID, or name. Learn more about voter ID here.
Know Your Voter Rights
Every eligible Texan has the right to vote and be part of making decisions for our communities. We’ve compiled information about your voting rights here, with directions on where to go if you need to know more.
Getting Time Off
Employers must grant employees paid leave to vote on Election Day, unless polls are open two hours before or after your regular working shift.
For Voters with Disabilities
You have the right to vote whether you have a disability or not, as long as you are registered to vote in Texas. This section covers some of the accommodations available to people with disabilities. Find more helpful voter resources from Disability Rights Texas here.
If a voter is physically unable to enter the polling place, they may ask that an election officer bring a ballot to the entrance of the polling place or to a car parked at the curbside. After the voter marks the ballot, they will give it to the election officer, who will put it in the ballot box. Or, at the voter’s request, a companion may hand the voter a ballot and deposit it for them.
Anyone who assists a voter must provide their relationship to the voter and address and sign an oath that they didn’t receive compensation.
Under Help America Vote Act (HAVA), all Texas counties must provide one direct electronic voting machine (DRE) at each polling place for use by voters with visual disabilities, so they may cast their ballot without assistance. These machines are equipped with headphones and a keypad.
Right to an Interpreter
An interpreter may be used if you and the election official cannot speak the same language. The interpreter must be a registered voter of the county, must take the oath of assistance and may interpret for any number of voters.