Senate sends bill loosening School Board candidate residency requirements back to the House
Image via Holmes County School Board.

nassau schools holmes district sb
The proposed change would put School Board candidate residency requirements in line with most other elected offices.

The Senate agreed to adopt a House bill that loosens residency requirements for School Board candidates, but not before amending it. The bill must now go back to the House for an additional vote.

The legislation (HB 411) Republican Rep. Kevin Steele filed would make it so that School Board candidates need to be residents when they assume office.

Current law requires School Board candidates to live in the district they are seeking to represent by the qualifying date. The change passed largely along party lines, 29-7.

Ingoglia’s original bill (SB 444) was similar to the House version, but had also touched on district-drawing for County Commission seats. The House bill did not. The amendment added Thursday prohibited drawing County Commission and School Board districts within a certain period of the election or with an intent to favor a certain candidate.

Most of Thursday’s discussion on the amendment drew bipartisan support, but Democrats in committee opposed the bill as opening up School Board seats to political opportunists without a real understanding of school districts’ issues, which are uniquely local, they argued.

Ingoglia, however, made the case that the change will bring School Boards more in line with other elected offices.

Senators, Representatives and County Commissioners are not required to be residents of the district they wish to represent when they qualify to run. For county constitutional officers, candidates don’t need to reside in the county until assuming office.

The legislation is among a number of Republican bills aiming to reshape School Board governance across the state. Per this Session, voters will consider a constitutional amendment asking them to make School Board elections partisan. Another bill, scheduled for the full House floor next week, would drop School Board term limits from the current 12 years to eight.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken an unprecedented interest in School Boards. He’s the first Governor to identify a slate of candidates he wished to see voted into office.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • JD

    April 28, 2023 at 9:25 am

    This is so more cronies can be placed on school boards and push ideology, while grifting off the “government education teet.”

    They’re trying to dismantle the public schools and robbing the public coffers. It’s so criminal and organized, it’s an episode of the Sorpranos. Let’s look at a Federal Florida congress person whose spouse owns an EdTech and private school company. Or large school boards with members whose parent own private schools? Could there be some influence in the recent state level “voucher” law as well? No no – it’s not related at all. Nothing to see here because we need to rid the schools of “woke”.

    The Democrats and NPA’s are rallying and will reverse all the culture war bills once their sanity returns to the state government.

  • David T. Hawkins

    April 28, 2023 at 9:43 am

    If you run for an Office that has Districts, the Rule SHOULD state that: “You must Live IN the District you are running for at the time you Register to Run and must Live in that District until the time you leave that Office”.

  • Janet Sullivan

    May 3, 2023 at 3:24 pm

    This is VERY confusing. First: Is this bill referring to the SCHOOL DISTRICT or the Districts within the school district (District 1, District 2, etc.)? Also, the reporter said: The legislation (HB 411) Republican Rep. Kevin Steele filed would make it so that School Board candidates need to be residents in the district they wish to represent AT THE TIME OF THE ELECTION, yet the bill actually says “WHEN THEY TAKE OFFICE”. Help!

Comments are closed.


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