Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

By Greg Abbott

Legal oath of office vs. ceremonial oath of office


December 6, 2018

About this time of year, MSBA gets several questions about when to give the oath of office to newly elected board members.

Sometimes there is confusion because we do offer the legal Oath and Acceptance of Office form, as well as a Ceremonial Oath of Office.

The legal oath form is the one all superintendents, boards and clerks should be most concerned about. After a candidate returns the Certificate of Election form (which most people have probably returned by now), the candidate should sign the legal Oath and Acceptance of Office form in front of a notary. Without signing the legal form, they cannot be seated at the first meeting in January.

During the first meeting in January, many boards give new members a ceremonial oath. This is an optional oath that is given by the board chair, superintendent, or some other official (sometimes a local judge).

MSBA provides both the legal and ceremonial oath forms on its website at (you will be required to log in).

It’s up to your board if you want to use the ceremonial oath, but ALL new board members MUST have signed the legal oath and acceptance form before being seated at the first meeting in January.

School Board Member Term of Office Start Date

M.S. 123B.09, Subd. 1., states, in pertinent part, “... The term of office of a member shall be four years commencing on the first Monday in January and until a successor qualifies ...”

Therefore, a new board member’s term of office officially starts on Monday, January 7, 2019.


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