Board Election Process
Harris County Department of Education is governed by Chapter 17 of the Texas Education Code.
Chapter 17 was repealed by Chapter 260, § 58(a)(1) (S.B. 1), 74th Legislature, 1995, but § 11.301of the Texas Education Code provides that a school district or county system operating under former Chapter 17 could continue to operate under that chapter as the chapter existed on May 1, 1995 and under state law generally applicable to school districts that did not conflict with Chapter 17.
Former § 17.031 of the Texas Education Code provides that in a county with a population of two million or more, according to the most recent federal census, the county school trustees are elected at the general election for state and county officers, and the office of county school trustee is considered a county office for purposes of nomination and election and for the commencement of the term of office. Section 52.092(e)(13) of the Texas Election Code provides that the office of “county school trustee (county with population of 3.3 million or more)” is placed on the ballot after “county treasurer.”
Former § 17.05 of the Texas Education Code provides that county school trustees or members of county boards of education must meet the following qualifications:
- They must be qualified voters of the county from which they are elected.
- The four persons representing commissioners' precincts must each reside in the precinct from which he is elected.
- They must possess good moral character.
- They must be able to read and speak the English language.
- They must be persons of good education and in sympathy with the free public schools.
- They must not be connected with the public schools of any district, either as an official or as an employee.
In addition, in accordance with § 141.001(a) of the Texas Election Code (see Brown v. Patterson, 609 S.W.2d 287 (Tex. Civ. App. – Dallas 1980, no writ)), county school trustees or members of county boards of education must also:
- Be 18 years of age or older on the first day of the term to be filled at the election.
- Have not been determined by a final judgment of a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be (A) totally mentally incapacitated or (B) partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote.
- Have not been finally convicted of a felony from which the person has not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities.
- Have resided continuously in the state for 12 months and in the territory from which the office is elected for six months immediately preceding:
- the date of the regular filing deadline for a candidate’s application for a place on the ballot
- for an independent candidate, the date of the regular filing deadline for a candidate’s application for a place on the ballot
How to become a candidate
An individual interested in becoming a candidate for a position on the Board of the Harris County Department of Education files an application for a place on the Primary Election ballot with the county chair of the appropriate party (or files a declaration of intent to run as an independent candidate with the county judge) along with a filing fee of $750 (Section 172.024(a)(17) of the Texas Election Code) or a petition in lieu of filing fee.
- Complete the Application for a Place on the General Primary Ballot
- Visit the Texas Secretary of State's candidate information website to learn how to become a candidate for HCDE.
Petition in lieu of filing fee
The petition in lieu of filing fee must comply with the provisions set forth in Section 141.061-.070 of the Texas Election Code. Under Section 172.025 of the Texas Election Code, the minimum number of signatures that must appear on the petition for a district, county, or precinct office is the lesser of (1) 500 or (2) 2% of the number of votes received in the district, county, or precinct, as applicable, by all the candidates for governor in the most recent gubernatorial general election, unless that number is under 50 (in which case, a second computation must be done). Should that number be less than 50, prospective candidates should contact the Texas Secretary of State’s office for specific guidance.