Casual vacancies for elected board members

Sometimes during a board’s three-year term of office, a board member either resigns or can no longer be on the board for another reason. This is when a “casual vacancy” occurs.

If this board member is an elected parent, staff or student representative the board must follow the processes described on this page. You can also view a flow chart for this process here. For more information see schedule 23 of the Education and Training Act 2020.


How does a casual vacancy occur?

A casual vacancy occurs if an elected board member:

  • dies
  • resigns in writing to the board
  • is absent from three consecutive board meetings without the board's "prior leave" (this is different from the board member giving apologies)
  • is no longer eligible to be a board member for a financial or other reason described in schedule 23(9) of the Education and Training Act 2020

A casual vacancy also occurs when:

  • a staff representative leaves the school
  • a student representative leaves the school or is no longer a full-time student
  • there are fewer nominations than the number of positions to be filled after an election or by-election
  • a board has altered its constitution to increase the number of parent representative positions (section 121 of the Act)

How does the board fill a casual vacancy?

  • a board must decide how to fill the casual vacancy within eight weeks
  • casual vacancies for staff and student representatives must be filled with a by-election:
    • the process will now be 31 days.
    • the term of office for the person elected will be for the remainder of the vacating board member's term of office
  • casual vacancies for parent representatives can be filled with either a by-election or by selection:
    • the term of office for the person elected or selected will be for the remainder of the vacating trustee's term of office
    • a by-election must be held if:
      • the number of selected parent representatives equals the number of elected parent representatives on the board
      • the casual vacancy is created after the board has increased its number of parent representative positions (altered its constitution)
  • the board can never fill a casual vacancy by co-option
  • when filling a casual vacancy by selection:
  • when the vacancy has been filled, remember to complete Appendix 1 and Appendix 2
  • refer to this flowchart on how to fill a casual vacancy for an elected board member

When does a board not have to fill a casual vacancy?

A board does not have to fill a casual vacancy if:

  • the parent or staff representative vacancy occurs on or after 1 October in the year before the triennial elections. The board can still choose to fill the vacancy.


    • the decision on whether the board will fill the position or not must be made within 28 days after the vacancy occurs.
    • this exemption does not apply to years in which a mid-term election is held.
  • If there are no nominations at all at the student representative elections the board may not fill the vacancy.

Reimbursements for parent and staff representative by-elections

To receive reimbursement, all claims for actual and reasonable costs for by-elections must be submitted as soon as possible to the Ministry, by providing detailed invoices and completing the appropriate form. The claim form is available on the Ministry of Education website.

Funding is not available for a student by-election.

Group Created with Sketch.