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Ask OSBA - Conflict of Interest Questions

OSBA staff answers some common (and not so common) questions about board governance, board members' roles and responsibilities, good practices, running board meetings and board conflict. Don't see the answer to your question? Ask OSBA!

Dear members:

Your OSBA Team is dedicated to assisting you by responding to all of your questions. Additionally, we are committed to providing you with the best possible information, tools, and practices in a timely manner. There are times when we must research, or consult with other OSBA staff members to provide an answer to your questions. In these circumstances, we ask for your patience as the normal response time could potentially be delayed. Please expect an initial response, by phone or email, within 24-48 hours of submitting your question, and be aware that additional follow-up could take more time. If your question is time sensitive, please be sure to specify your deadlines in your initial request.

Thank you, we look forward to hearing from you!

Legal Disclaimer: The information contained on this site should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding your particular situation, please seek the advice of OSBA’s legal services or independent counsel.


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We are filling a vacant board position. One of the applicants is related to a current board member. Can the current board member participate in the interviews, discussion and vote? - 4/22/16

What ethical and conflict of interest obligations do Board members have when they know and/or are related to someone who works for the district? - 9/14/12

We recently voted as a board to place an operating levy on the upcoming ballot. We have a 5-member board. Now, three board members each have an interest in actively serving on the "LETS PASS THE LEVY" Political Action Committee (PAC). Can three of us meet as members of the PAC meetings (all held off school district property, all outside of school hours, etc)? - 4/11/14

Are individuals allowed to campaign on the community college, school district or ESD campus, or in district facilities of the institution for which they are seeking a board seat, or during school events which the public attends? Can they distribute flyers on the institution’s property criticizing the current administration and saying ‘Vote for XYZ for the board’? - 6/03/11

Can we provide dinner at a work session prior to a board meeting? Are there any reporting requirement? What if the board wants to have a dinner not connected to a meeting and not for discussing board business? Is it allowable for the agency to pay for that? - 2/25/08

Can a school board member also serve on the board of a charter school sponsored by the same district? - 1/14/11

Can the school board employ someone as an internal auditor, where the person does not report to the superintendent but directly to the board of directors? - 1/21/11

Can a charter board member also serve on the school board? - 6/28/13

We are filling a vacant board position. One of the applicants is related to a current board member. Can the current board member participate in the interviews, discussion and vote? - 10/18/10

If a board member declares a conflict of interest, is he required to state for the minutes the reason he is declaring a conflict? And after declaring a conflict of interest, does he have the right to vote on the motion? - 11/08/13

What ethical and conflict of interest obligations do Board members have when they know and/or are related to someone who works for the district? - 5/13/16

What guidelines apply to gifts given by parents or students to teachers, or by staff members and employees and board members to each other? - 12/08/09

What laws or guidelines apply to gifts given by parents or students to teachers, or by staff members and employees and board members to each other? - 10/30/15

What guidelines apply to gifts given by parents or students to teachers, or by staff members and employees and board members to each other? - 4/29/16

If a majority of board members are related to members of the union how does the board go about voting to approve the contract? - 9/11/08

Can a board member be considered for a paid position, such as a project manager, funded by a grant received by the district? - 1/09/15

Can a superintendent endorse a board candidate running for their board? If they can't endorse, can they give a quote about the candidate? - 5/10/13

Can a part-time athletic coach serve on the school board? - 12/11/15