When you think about a community, one of its most important institutions is its school system, which means serving on the school board is one of the most impactful roles anyone can perform.
In Mississippi, county school board members are elected positions with staggered terms. This year, there are two board positions up for election in the Lowndes County School District — District 1 and District 2, both located in the northern part of the county.
The qualifying deadline for these elections is Friday at 5 p.m., which leads to an interesting question: What if you hold an election and nobody runs?
The answer is that one is appointed. Hopefully it won’t come to that, though.
Current District 2 board member Brian Clark has decided not to seek another term. As of Wednesday afternoon, no one from District 2 has filed paperwork to get on the ballot.
Meanwhile, board member Jane Kilgore will seek another term and is the only qualifying candidate in District 1.
A look at the responsibilities of a school board member confirms the importance of the position. Among those duties, board members set and manage an annual budget that in Lowndes County approaches $30 million, supervise the district superintendent, set salaries for employees, approve purchases, set school district policy, hire/fire employees based on the superintendent’s recommendation and set the school calendar.
Each of these duties is critical to the health and success of the schools, which emphasizes the importance of having a bright, capable, committed person willing to serve.
While the duties are varied and sometimes complex, qualifying to serve is simple: All that is required is to be a qualified elector in the district and have a high school diploma or equivalent.
We would like to believe that there are candidates for both positions — especially District 2, for obvious reasons — who have decided to run, but simply haven’t turned in their qualifying papers at the circuit clerk’s office. But with less than 48 hours remaining before the qualifying deadline, we can’t be sure of that.
We know there is no shortage of civic-minded citizens who are committed to their schools who could serve effectively in this capacity. We urge those people to step forward — and quickly.
For more information on the qualifying process, drop by the circuit clerk’s office at the Lowndes County Courthouse or call 662-329-5900.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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