Delegate & Election FAQs

Learn how the election process works and review the list of current delegates.

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NYSTRS' participating employers are required to oversee the election of delegates and alternates and report the results to the System. See the About Delegates page to learn about the valuable role delegates and alternates serve and review the list of current delegates to see representation by employer.

Refer to the following for information about the delegate election process and see below for our FAQs:

  • 1. Who is eligible to be elected as a delegate or alternate?

    Both delegates and alternates must be in-service, full-time (e.g., per-annum) employees who are NYSTRS members. Delegates and alternates are elected as a ticket and cannot be split. In other words, an alternate for Delegate A may not serve in place of Delegate B if the latter is unable to attend the meeting.

    2. Can a retired NYSTRS member who works part-time as a teacher serve as a delegate or participate in the delegate election?

    No. To be elected a delegate/alternate or to participate in the delegate election, a person must be an active NYSTRS member.

  • 1. What are the duties of a delegate?

    Delegates attend a two-day Annual Delegates Meeting held in the fall at which they elect a teacher member to NYSTRS' Board. The delegate may also act as a liaison between NYSTRS and the members of their school district/college. See the About Delegates page to learn about the valuable role delegates and alternates serve.

    2. What are the duties of an alternate?

    Alternates serve as backups to their corresponding delegates. Should the delegate vacate their position for any reason, the alternate would automatically assume the delegate position and the alternate position would remain vacant until the next regular election. (Note: Delegates and alternates are elected as a ticket and cannot be split.)

    The alternate may attend the Annual Delegates Meeting, but may only vote for a teacher Board member if the employer notifies NYSTRS prior to the meeting that the alternate will attend and vote in place of the delegate; this attendance change must be made in NYSTRS' Employer Secure Area.

    3. How long of a term does the delegate/alternate serve?

    Delegates and their corresponding alternates serve a two-year term. The term during a regular election year (held in years with odd numbers) begins on August 1 and runs for two years ending July 31 of the following odd year. Delegates elected via special election (held in years with even numbers) serve the remainder of the two-year term that was either: vacated by both a delegate and alternate; or was otherwise unfilled during the regular election.

  • Refer to the following resources for information and see our FAQs below: Election TimelinesElection Responsibilities and Electing & Reporting Delegates.

    Employers should visit the Employers/Delegate Election & Annual Meeting page for guidance on holding elections and reporting results to NYSTRS.

    1. When is a delegate election held?

    Delegate election deadlines and responsibilities are set by statute (i.e., Chapter 506 of New York State Education Law). The law requires that regular elections of a delegate/alternate are held between March 1 and June 1 of odd-numbered years, with results to be submitted to NYSTRS by July 1. Special elections are held in even-numbered years, but only employers with openings in both the delegate and alternate positions of a ticket are eligible to participate. Special elections must be held between March 1 and Oct. 1, with results submitted by Oct. 6. Employers are required to report the results to NYSTRS via the Employer Secure Area.

    2. How is a district’s entitlement for the number of delegates and alternates determined?

    The number of delegates and alternates to which an employer is entitled is based upon the number of active NYSTRS members contractually employed at the district or college. The number of delegate/alternate tickets an employer is eligible to fill can be viewed within the Convention Delegates application of NYSTRS' Employer Secure Area. Employers should check this area each March to determine entitlement and/or vacancies to be filled.

    3. Who is responsible for conducting the election and are there official procedures to be followed?

    It is the responsibility of the Chief School Administrator (CSA) or president, or their designee, to establish reasonable election procedures, hold elections, and report the results to NYSTRS. NYSTRS has no statutory authority to regulate the election process. Many employers ask the bargaining unit(s) representing NYSTRS members to hold the election. However, only the CSA or their designated administrative staff member is authorized to report election results.

    4. Who reports the election results to NYSTRS?

    Employers are required to report election results to NYSTRS via the Convention Delegates application of the Employer Secure Area. The person responsible for reporting the results must be a registered ESA user and assigned the Convention Delegates User role. However, the chief school administrator or ESA security administrator may also report election results. We strongly urge delegates and alternates confirm the employer submitted the results to NYSTRS.

    5. What resources are available to guide employers on their responsibilities?

    Employers receive election information via email from NYSTRS. They are directed to visit the Employers/Delegate Election & Annual Meeting page for step-by-step guides to election timelines and their responsibilities to oversee elections and report results to NYSTRS.

    6. If a delegate does not have an alternate, can they still be elected?

    Yes. It is not mandatory for a delegate to have an alternate. However, should a delegate retire or vacate the position and there is not an alternate, the delegate position would be vacant until it could either be filled during the special election or during the next regular election.

    7. If the number of nominated delegates/alternates equals the number of delegates a school district/college is entitled to, is it necessary to hold an election?

    No election is necessary in this case as it is considered an uncontested election. When entering the election results in the Employer Secure Area, the date of election entered should be the date the interested delegate(s) and alternate(s) names were submitted to the employer.

    8. There are fewer people nominated than the number of delegates to which the school district/college is entitled. Do we still fill just a few openings?

    If your school district/college does not receive enough interested members to equal the number of delegates to which the employer is eligible, submit only the names of those interested in serving. Should the school district/college receive any interested members for the vacant delegate position(s) at a later date, these vacancies may be filled the following year during the special election.

    9. Why does a BOCES have two district numbers?

    A BOCES needs to hold an election for NYSTRS members employed by their BOCES as well as oversee an election for their component districts. In their capacity overseeing the component district election, they are considered a supervisory district and have a separate district number. As a supervisory district, the BOCES is responsible for overseeing an election for those component districts employing fewer than 75 NYSTRS members. In this instance, a single election takes place at the supervisory level, with delegate entitlement based on the cumulative number of NYSTRS members employed by the under-75 component districts. Component districts employing 75 or more NYSTRS members are eligible to hold their own elections. They will be contacted independently by NYSTRS and the supervisory district will not be responsible for reporting election results for them.

  • 1. When and where is the Annual Delegates Meeting held?

    The date of the Annual Meeting varies annually but by law it must be held in October or November. Traditionally, the meeting is held on a Sunday and Monday in early November. The event is held at the Saratoga Springs City Center in Saratoga Springs, New York. Delegates are given many months’ advance notice to adequately plan their travel and accommodations, if applicable. See the Annual Delegates Meeting page for the latest meeting information.

    2. Is it mandatory for a delegate or an alternate to attend the Annual Delegates Meeting?

    No, it is not mandatory. However, if neither attends, the school district/college which they represent will not be entitled to a vote for the teacher member of the Board up for election that year.

    3. Who pays the expenses for attendance at the Annual Delegates Meeting?

    Under a State Comptroller’s ruling, local school districts/colleges cannot pay expenses for meeting attendance; therefore, the expenses are the responsibility of the delegate/alternate. (Also see a State Education Department opinion and a ruling by the Commissioner of Education.) Delegates should contact their local bargaining units about possible reimbursement.

    4. Can alternates attend the meeting along with their delegate?

    An alternate may attend the meeting in addition to their delegate. However, the alternate will not have rights to vote in the election of a teacher Board member.

    5. If NYSTRS is notified prior to the annual meeting that a delegate will not attend and their corresponding alternate will be there in their place, will the alternate have voting rights?

    Yes, but the employer is required to notify NYSTRS that the alternate is attending and voting in place of the delegate; this notice must be made via the Convention Delegates page of the Employer Secure Area.

    6. If a delegate is unable to attend the meeting, can any one of the district’s alternates attend and vote at the Annual Delegates Meeting for them?

    No. Delegates and alternates are elected as tickets and may not be split. An alternate may not cast a vote for a delegate they were not elected to serve with.

Benefits Presentations

NYSTRS will visit your school to give a tailored presentation to members. Call 800-348-7298, ext. 4763 to learn more.