Hall Pass: Your Ticket to Understanding School Board Politics, Edition #97

Welcome to Hall Pass, a newsletter written to keep you plugged into the conversations driving school board politics and governance.

In today’s edition, you’ll find:

  • On the issues: The debate over school discipline
  • In your district: District successes
  • Share candidate endorsements with us! 
  • School board filing deadlines, election results, and recall certifications
  • Approximately 21,509 school board seats are up for election in 2024
  • Extracurricular: education news and numbers from around the web
  • Candidate Connection survey

Reply to this email to share reactions or story ideas!

On the issues: The debate over school discipline

In this section, we curate reporting, analysis, and commentary on the issues school board members deliberate when they set out to offer the best education possible in their district. Missed an issue? Click here to see the previous education debates we’ve covered.

How should schools discipline?

Naomi Schaefer Riley writes that rising behavioral problems in schools are mainly due to a failure to punish minor rule violations. Riley says most schools have stopped punishing minor infractions, encouraging more serious or violent offenses. She says more punishment—even for minor violations—is necessary to promote order.

Claudia Rowe writes that punitive discipline doesn’t work at schools and tends to increase the risk of students dropping out. Rowe says focusing on repairing relationships—such as through counseling and mental health resources—is a better option. She says schools need more funding and new tools to make non-punitive discipline options available.

It’s time for a ‘broken windows’ policy for schools | Naomi Schaefer Riley, New York Post

“In the 1990s we learned the benefits of broken-windows policing — prosecuting low-level crimes so that New York’s potential scofflaws would know the authorities were serious about law enforcement and would think twice about escalating to higher level offenses. Now it’s time to do the same thing in our schools. … Many school leaders blame COVID, but fail to understand what specifically about the pandemic made things worse. Kids were at home and basic social skills were not being taught and low-level discipline was not being enforced. How did we get here? Daniel Buck, a former teacher and author of “What Is Wrong With Our Schools?” tells me that even schools that used to be strict about dress codes or tardiness have now let those rules go by the wayside. … To the extent there are any consequences for these annoying — though not violent — behaviors, they involve yet another chat with a social worker. But what about the offender — what about actual punishment?”

Student discipline: Are schools equipped to handle behavioral extremes? | Claudia Rowe, The Seattle Times

“Does punitive discipline work? If it did, two young men might be alive, and a dedicated teacher would not be thinking about leaving the profession. … School discipline was always a loaded topic. The vast majority of suspended kids are low-income youth of color, and a data analysis I did in 2015 showed that certain students were disciplined again and again, suggesting that the intervention does little to change their behavior. It is associated primarily with an increased risk for dropping out. At the time, many teachers felt that restorative justice — which focuses on repairing relationships — was a worthy response to kids in crisis. But that was pre-pandemic. As with everything else, COVID-19 changed the game. … Even educators who proudly describe themselves as social justice warriors say the restorative approach sounds naive today, considering the relentless pressure to catch kids up academically. … But schools are confronting this reality with the same tools they’ve been using for years.”

In your district: District successes

Welcome to our first reader survey of the new year! We want to hear what’s happening in your school district. Please complete the very brief survey below—anonymously, if you prefer—and we may share your response with fellow subscribers in an upcoming newsletter.

What is an innovation in your district that you think other school boards should consider adopting? 

Click here to respond!

School board update: filing deadlines, election results, and recall certifications

In 2023, Ballotpedia covered elections for over 9,000 school board seats in more than 3,000 districts across 34 states. We’re expanding our coverage each year with our eye on the more 13,000 districts with elected school boards. 

Upcoming school board elections and results

Here is a sampling of the school board elections we’re covering in the next 30 days. 


Districts in Oklahoma held primaries on Feb. 13. However, not all districts held primaries, because in Oklahoma, school board elections are canceled if candidates run uncontested. This happens in one of two ways. If only one candidate runs for office, the election is canceled and that candidate automatically wins. If more than two candidates run, they participate in a primary in which a candidate can win outright with more than 50% of the vote. In those cases, the subsequent general election is canceled.

There are 563 school board seats up for election in Oklahoma this year with at least one candidate. Seventy-nine percent of those seats are uncontested and the elections have been canceled. The remaining 21% are contested elections:

  • Primaries were held for 20 seats on Feb. 13
  • One special election will be held on March 5
  • General elections will be held for 97 seats on April 2 

Two seats are up for election on the Oklahoma City Public Schools school board this year. 

  • We covered one primary on Feb. 13 in Oklahoma City. Jay Albertson, Scotty Hernandez, and Dana Meister ran in the primary to represent District 4. Meister won the election outright with 71.8% of the vote. 
  • The primary for District 3 was canceled because only two candidates ran. Incumbent Cary Pirrong and Jessica Cifuentes automatically advanced to the April 2 general election. 

Click here to read our full report on Oklahoma’s 2023 school board elections. 


We will cover school board primaries in the following districts on March 5—Long Beach Unified School District, Los Angeles Unified School District, and San Diego Unified School District. We’ll have more information on those elections in the coming weeks. 

Approximately 21,509 school board seats are up for election in 2024

Voters elect more than 97% of the country’s more than 83,000 school board members

Let’s explore the 2024 school board election landscape—how many districts are holding elections, how many seats are on the ballot, and when those elections are happening. We’ll also give you an early look at Ballotpedia’s 2024 school board coverage.

This year, approximately 21,509 school board seats in 40 states are up for election in 2024. This is not counting any special elections to fill vacancies. In 2023, there were 24,200 seats up for election in 35 states. 

  • Those 40 states have 66,078 school board seats. In all, 26% of seats in those states are up for election in 2024. 
  • The 21,509 seats up for election this year represent 26% of all school board seats in the country. Most school districts hold staggered elections, meaning that not all seats are up for election in any given year. 
  • Most districts have half or one-third of seats up for election this year, and others have a quarter or one-fifth of seats up.

Those 40 states have 10,391 school districts and roughly 8,800 of them are holding elections.

  • The approximately 8,800 school districts with elections this year represent 68% of all districts in the country and 85% of the total districts within the 40 states.

Regular general school board elections in 2024 will take place on at least 12 different dates. Some states will have school board elections on multiple dates. In some states, school board election dates can vary by district. School districts in at least 14 states could also hold primary elections.

Ballotpedia’s 2024 school board coverage

This year, Ballotpedia is covering school board elections in the 100 most populous cities, the 200 largest districts by student enrollment, and all school board elections in Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Ballotpedia will also cover additional school board elections this year as our coverage expands. In all, Ballotpedia is planning to cover elections for around 10,000 school board seats in more than 23 states. In 2023, Ballotpedia covered 8,750 seats in 28 states

The map below shows the states where we will cover school board elections. More states will be added to the map as we continue to conduct local election research. 

To learn more about Ballotpedia’s 2024 school board coverage, click here

Extracurricular: education news and numbers from around the web

This section contains links to recent education-related articles from around the internet. If you know of a story we should be reading, reply to this email to share it with us! 

Numbers of the week

Share candidate endorsements with us! 

As part of our goal to solve the ballot information problem, Ballotpedia is gathering information about school board candidate endorsements. The ballot information gap widens the further down the ballot you go, and is worst for the more than 500,000 local offices nationwide, such as school boards or special districts. Endorsements can help voters know more about their candidates and what they stand for. 

Do you know of an individual or group that has endorsed a candidate in your district? 

Click here to respond!

Take our Candidate Connection survey to reach voters in your district

Today, we’re looking at survey responses from candidates running in April 2 elections. Calvin Moniz is running in the special general election for Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education District 2 in Oklahoma. Brock Foley is running in the general election for one of three seats on the North Kansas City Public Schools Board of Education in Missouri. 

Tulsa Public Schools is the second largest district in Oklahoma, with an estimated enrollment of roughly 35,500 students. In December 2023, the board appointed Diamond Marshall to replace former incumbent Barba Perez, who moved out of the state. Marshall declined to run for re-election. Moniz is running in the special election against Kandee Washington, who has not completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. 

North Kansas City Public Schools is the fourth largest district in Missouri, with an estimated enrollment of 20,300 students. Foley is one of seven candidates, including incumbents Susan Hines and Jane Rinehart, running for one of the three seats. Foley is the only candidate who completed the survey. 

Here’s how Moniz answered the question, “What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

“Moniz advocates for local control, upholding the principles of liberty, and equality. He strongly believes that ensuring equal access to quality public education is crucial for our community to effectively address Tulsa’s future needs.”

Click here to read the rest of Moniz’s responses. 

Here’s how Foley answered the question, “What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

“I love public education and its important role in our society. I am a firm believer that strong public schools are the backbone of a strong community. The North Kansas City School District is a crucial part of why the Northland is such a great place to live. This is a legacy I want to strengthen and continue. As the North Kansas City School District is able to offer a high quality education to young people in our community it will have a tangible positive effect on everyone!”

Click here to read the rest of Foley’s responses.