The Committee for Non-Partisan Nomination and Election of School Trustees (NPC) was formed in 1936 with the mission to assemble and vet potential nominees for the Bronxville School Board and ultimately nominate a slate of candidates to successfully serve the school.
The NPC has no affiliation with any political party and the process for nominating candidates is driven solely by the goal of finding the most qualified candidates for trustee in the community.
The NPC consists of 21 members with three elected representatives from each of Bronxville’s seven election districts, who serve for a three year term.
NPC TRANSPARENCY REPORT AND FAQ’S
This report seeks to clarify to the Bronxville community the purpose of the NPC and how it operates. Please reach out to the NPC with any additional questions or feedback you may have, or suggestions of what should be addressed in this report or on our website at bronxvillenpc.org.
Feedback or suggested corrections to this report should be sent to email@example.com
WHAT IS THE NPC’S PURPOSE?
The Bronxville NPC’s mission is to ensure that qualified candidates run in our district’s non-partisan election for school board trustees. Since 1936 when the NPC Plan was adopted, this committee of 21 elected volunteers has helped to ensure that qualified candidates stand for the school trustee election. During each school year, the NPC recruits, interviews, and vets potential nominees for the Bronxville School Board and ultimately selects a slate of candidates that it believes will successfully serve the school. We believe that providing the community with this baseline of qualified candidates has contributed to the strong history of school board governance that our community enjoys. While not without missteps in its 87-year history, the effectiveness of our system is reflected in the Bronxville School’s excellence and its ability to attract talented educators.
WHO ARE THE NPC MEMBERS? HOW ARE THEY CHOSEN?
The current 21 NPC members are listed on our website and our bios are available on request to the NPC at firstname.lastname@example.org. The NPC meets regularly during the school year, typically on Tuesday nights, particularly in the months from January through the May. Newly elected members begin their 3 year terms on July 1st.
In accordance with the NPC Plan, NPC members are chosen by vote of Bronxville residents in a village-wide election administered by the NPC. The election is held in late May or early June using an electronic survey that is made public via email, website and social media. Anyone can run for the NPC who meets the village residency qualifications, however, no NPC member may be an elected public official or an officer of an organized political party. There are three members from each of Bronxville’s seven districts serving staggered three-year terms, such that each year, seven seats are filled by election. On occasion, an additional seat opens up due to the resignation of an individual. Such seats may be filled in an election, or if off-cycle, then by appointment until the next election occurs. More information on the process and the application is available on our website.
In the past, we have sometimes found it difficult finding people willing to serve, and we always welcome more participation and engagement by the public in our meetings and feedback processes.
WHY WAS THE NPC FORMED?
The goal of the Bronxville NPC (shorthand for Committee for the Non-Partisan Nomination and Election of School Trustees) is to recruit, vet, and nominate candidates for election to the board of trustees. The key role of the NPC is “to nominate.” NPC nominated candidates run under exactly the same requirements, regulations, and process as non-NPC candidates. The NPC Plan further provides that “It shall be the duty of the Committee to take all proper steps to procure the election of the candidates so nominated." Accordingly, the NPC promotes the candidacy of the nominees it selects through specific means that are enumerated in the NPC Rules. These forms of promotion include announcing the NPC candidate selection to the community via email, social media and press releases, holding a reception for the community to meet the NPC selected candidates and filing the petition on behalf of the candidate.
The ballot for New York school districts school board elections does not include party affiliations. The NPC was formed in order to provide more structure to the process of filling school board seats in support of the district’s non-partisan election system. The NPC serves no function in scheduling, administering, organizing, managing, deciding on the method, or certifying the board of trustee election itself. Those are the sole responsibility of the Bronxville UFSD.
Neighboring school districts such as Scarsdale, Edgemont and Pelham have similar volunteer organizations, which appear to be organized and operated analogously to the Bronxville NPC.
Notably, the Edgemont SNBC website has the following information: “The Edgemont Community Council, which sponsors the SBNC, has occasionally conducted studies to ascertain that Edgemont is well served by the nominating committee and to update the rules if so necessary. The last study conducted by a sub-committee in the late 1990s showed a strong correlation in Westchester between those school districts with some sort of board nominating committee and a high-quality school district.” The Bronxville NPC has not undertaken such a study but every four years we do have a separate Advisory Review Committee (ARC) that undertakes a review process whereby we seek to incorporate community feedback and update our rules to reflect contemporary issues and circumstances.
The NPC has no affiliation with any other entity or group in Bronxville or otherwise. Unlike the PTA, the NPC is not chartered under NY State Law.
HOW THE NPC FINDS AND CHOOSES TRUSTEE CANDIDATES TO NOMINATE FOR THE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION
The NPC criteria for selecting candidates is set forth in the NPC Rules of Procedure, which in addition to the NY state minimum legal requirements, include the following:
It is the policy of the Committee that a nominee for Trustee shall be an individual whose educational or professional background and/or volunteer experience will enhance the candidate’s effectiveness and who will make a substantial contribution to the deliberations of the Board. The candidate must be knowledgeable about the needs of the Bronxville School and community and must be a registered voter in the Bronxville, N.Y. election district. Candidates must be aware of the heavy time requirements for service on the Board of Trustees, and prepared to make allowances in their vocational and personal commitments so that they will be able to attend all meetings and fulfill committee assignments.
Our website has more information at the link Run for School Board | Bronxville NPC including the NPC application process. Both the NPC Plan and the Rules of Procedure are also available for your review on our website at www.bronxvillenpc.org. More information about the school board can be found at https://www.bronxvilleschool.org/board-of-education.
WHY DO CANDIDATES RUN FOR SPECIFIC SEATS?
Under our district’s rules, vacancies on the Bronxville School Board of Education are considered separate, specific offices; candidates run for specific seats. For example, this year 2023, the ballot will show the seat currently held Michael Finley and the seat held by Jennifer Russo. When a candidate flies to be on the ballot, they must pick one seat to run for, and they do not know who else is running for that seat until the District Clerk announces it publicly.
In some school districts, school board elections are conducted on an “at-large” basis, such that the candidates with the highest number of votes are seated. The NPC has no authority or influence over this policy. A community wide vote run by the school district would be necessary to change it. For your reference, NPC has also compiled recent election vote counts that could be reviewed in connection with this question. https://www.bronxvillenpc.org/election-vote-counts-info
DOES THE NPC SELECT WHO WILL RUN AGAINST WHOM? (revised to clarify 3/5/2023)
No. The NPC nominated candidates follow the same procedure as any other candidate for the school trustee. Each candidate submits at least 25 signatures from the community to be placed on the ballot. The signed petition is submitted to the District Clerk, and must state which vacant board seat the candidate will be running for, however, a candidate does not know who else is running for that seat until District Clerk announces it. The NPC is nominating only the number of candidates as seats, and of course, NPC helps ensure the NPC candidates do not run for the same seat.
NPC’S ROLE IN A CONTESTED ELECTION
The NPC has no role in the school board election other than recruiting, nominating and promoting its candidates to run in the school board election. As noted above, the NPC promotes its selection of candidates for Trustee through communications and meetings with the community. In addition, the NPC Rules provide the following:
"Once a nominee for Trustee has been duly designated as a candidate by the Committee, it shall be considered inappropriate for any individual member or group of members of the committee to (a) personally promote a Committee candidate with language or in a format that differs significantly from that approved by the Committee and the Public Relations subcommittee, or to (b) promote a non-Committee candidate in the public election."
NPC nominated candidates follow, and are subject to, the same laws and rules as any non-NPC candidates. The Bronxville School District is solely responsible for administering board of trustee elections. For questions regarding the administration of the election, please contact the Bronxville UFSD directly or consult NY State Law. See, e.g., New York State Education Law §§ 1702, 1703, 2018, 2105 https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/EDN/2018-A
Prior to the election, the NPC nominates the number of candidates equal to the open board seats. For example, this year there will be two open seats for the school board. In the event other individuals run for the school board, such individuals will choose which seat to run for, and the NPC nor its candidates will have no advance notice of which seat such candidates choose. After the deadline for submission of the nominating petitions, the Bronxville District Clerk announces the matchups to the public. At that point, the community and candidates learn who or if they will be running against someone for the same seat.
BUDGET AND FUNDING FOR NPC
The NPC solicits and accepts donations mainly from its 21 members and from the community at large in order to fund its operations. We have deep gratitude to the Bronxville community members who have donated money to our group, and special thanks to the staff at the library who graciously accommodate us for meetings. Though we are a non-profit group, the NPC does not have any entity status under law. Donations are not tax deductible.
Donations to the NPC cover the cost of meeting space for the NPC, including for its public meetings such as the NPC Open Meeting and the NPC Meet the Candidates Reception. Most of the NPC meetings are held at the Bronxville Library at no cost to the NPC, however when the library is unavailable, over the years, the NPC has paid for use of the Bronxville Field Club, Siwanoy Country Club, Bronxville Women’s Club or other private facilities that may charge usage fees. Often such usage fees are paid for directly by NPC members, who typically cover the majority of the operating costs of the NPC through their donations or direct payment for services or costs. The NPC budget also includes the cost of maintaining various accounts for its website, its mailing list, domain registration, banking, post office box and payment processing. Finally, another key cost involves the annual mailer to all Bronxville school district residents regarding the school board election candidates. Overall, the budget is typically a few thousand dollars per year.
DOES THE NPC HAVE A SECRETIVE PROCESS?
The NPC Plan was established in 1936 by the community, and all members who serve on the NPC have been elected by the community in an open and public process. The Plan and Rules of Procedure that govern the NPC are available for all to review on the NPC website. Pursuant to our rules, the NPC publicizes all of its activities to the community, including (1) holding an open public meeting in the Fall with BOE President and NPC members to explain the BOE and role of trustees; (2) publishing a call for trustee candidates via www.myhometownbronxvile.com, our website, and our social media accounts to recruit candidates for nomination; (3) publishing the names of all applicants to solicit public community feedback for a period of several weeks both via email and in person; and (4) once nominated, publishing the list of nominees and bios within 24-48 hours; (5) mailing the notice of NPC selected nominees to all Bronxville residents and (6) and holding one or more public receptions for the public to meet and get to know NPC nominees.
The only matters deemed confidential by the NPC are the initial discussions with potential applicants, applicant interviews, the results of background and reference checks and our deliberations on applicants prior to selections. This is done to protect the privacy of applicants, including those who do not apply or run in the election, as well as to allow for open and honest discussions among the NPC members. NPC members are asked to maintain this confidentiality, and limit all discussions about candidates to factual matters relating to qualifications.
DO NPC CANDIDATES HAVE AN ADVANTAGE IN THE ELECTION OVER NON-ENDORSED CANDIDATES?
They do not. To the extent the community values the due diligence we perform, an NPC nomination may help a candidate. Aside from this, all candidates operate under the exact same rules regarding qualifications and election process.
To learn more about the NPC, please visit us at: www.bronxvillenpc.org or email us at: email@example.com