Running for Baraboo School Board in 2021?

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Do NOT take what I say here as the absolute truth. I am not a lawyer or an accountant. This is only the second time I have run for office – school board, specifically. This is just what info I have collected so I can figure out how to run myself. At some point I will also add links to the relevant statues so you can see it read it yourself and verify it.

This should be updated for 2021.


Unfortunately, it is difficult to find out what it takes to run for office and this creates a significant barrier to entry which is inherently undemocratic and reserves such civil duties to those who are have the time and who are financially better off which can keep this out of the hands of those who are suffering.

I will try to aggregate the many things that you may want to know if you are considering running for Baraboo School Board:

Let me know if I missed anything.

School District Information

Contact Information

Ellen Weiland at the Baraboo School District is the primary contact for these questions on running for school board. You can find her contact info in the BSD School Directory.

Basic Education and Notification Process

Here is the basic education and notification process:

  • October
    • starts gathering the Spring Election information
  • November
    • Webinar – in early November there is a webinar or two that explains the forms, changes to the forms and reviews the deadlines for the year
    • Legal Notice – The fourth Tuesday of November is the date that there is a legal notice in the newspaper that lists:
      • which seats are up for election
      • the deadline for turning in papers. 
      • to date for the primary election
      • to date for the spring election

Ballot Requirements

Position Meta

Running for School Board for the Baraboo School District is a non-partisan and at-large position meaning that:

  • Non-Partisan – political parties are not needed to run, are NOT important, and are not declared when running
  • At-large – there are no districts or specific representatives for specific portions of the community. All board members represent all in the school district.


  • Adult – You have to be 18 years of age or older
  • Resident of School District – You must be a resident of the School District of Baraboo, but you do not need to be from a particular area within the school district. 
  • To Appear on Ballot – You must submit 2 forms Forms by a specific date. Forms are available in the District Office after ?December 2nd? and are also available from the State (links below)
    • The forms are the:
    • Forms must be returned to the District Office by the first Tuesday in January at 5:00 pm, unless the first Tuesday is New Year’s Day, then it is Wednesday, January 2nd at 5:00 pm. This year the date is Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at 5:00 pm in order to appear on the spring ballot.
  • To Register as a Write-in Candidate –
    • If you miss the deadline to file to be on the ballot, then the only form that is required to file for notification of your availability for write-in status is the Campaign Registration Statement which is due by April 2, 2021.
    • You may have to be registered as a write-in candidate in order to have your votes counted at all. I am not sure though. I saw one article talking about a law change. If someone could verify this for me that would be great. To be safe, at least register as a write-in if you did not make the deadline to be listed on the ballot.

Board Seats and Candidates for Election 2021

Board Seats Up for Election in April 2021

There are 2 board member seats up for election in 2021:

  • Sean McNevin
  • Nancy Thome

… and both have filed non-candidacy forms, so they will NOT be on the ballot.

Current Candidates Running for School Board Election

Candidates Appearing on the Ballot

Currently (11 Jan 2021), these are the candidates who have filed by the the Jan 5 deadline to appear on the ballot to run for School Board in 2021:

  1. Alex Schenck 

Since there is only 1 person running for 2 seats that means that there is NOT going to be a primary February.

Candidates Registered as Write-in Candidates

Currently, there is only one candidate who has filed as a write in candidate:

  1. James O’Neill (me)

Election Dates

Primary Election

A Primary Election will only be held if there are more than twice the number of persons running for the open seats. In this case, since there are 2 seats open, there will only be a primary if there are 5 or more people on the ballot.

If there is a Primary Election required for School Board then it will be held on ?Tuesday, February 16, 2021?.

Spring Election

The date for the Spring Election would be on April 6, 2021.

Potential Votes to Win

You will need about ?? votes or more to help secure a seat on the Board.

Campaign Funding

Maximum Donations

See Contribution Limits @ State of Wisconsin Ethics Commission.

  • Individual or candidate committee may contribute $500.00
  • PAC’s may contribute $400.00 

Money Raised in Previous Elections

No one has raised or disbursed any money to run for school board in the past five years. 

I am assuming this means that no one has spent more than the $500 limit, after which everything would have to be reported.

Running for Office Training