Lincoln Countians deserve voice, choice in school board

Published 10:24 pm Monday, November 20, 2017

If it was not clear before, it certainly is now that the Attorney General’s Office has weighed in on the mess that is the Lincoln County School Board elections.

At some point in the past, local school board elections were not held when they should have been, meaning those elections are out of sync with the state’s election calendar.

In an effort to get the elections back on track, the board’s attorney proposed appointing school board seats until elections can be held on the correct schedule years from now. The problem with that is obvious — voters in Lincoln County will have no say in the district’s leadership. A self-appointed school board (that will appoint the next superintendent) is not in the best interest of Lincoln County.

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The proposed solution was supposedly cleared through the Attorney General’s Office, but that is not entirely accurate.

“Although attorneys in the AG’s opinion division received calls and had discussions with Mr. Keith (school board attorney) and others about this issue, they did not approve this plan,” said AG spokeswoman Margaret Morgan.

Since the plan at this point does not have the blessing of the AG’s office, and clearly is not in the best interest of Lincoln County, the best solution is to have a special election for board members and allow them to serve the remainder of their terms until the state says it’s time for the next regular election.

Others agree.

“I think there should be an school board election in 2019,” said Rep. Vince Mangold, R-Brookhaven. “There’s plenty of time to get it set up and back on the right election cycle. I am in favor of appointing superintendents and if this plan moves forward, we can only hope that the board will make a good decision.”

“I would be in favor of a special election to fill the seats and plan to investigate why that has not been put forward as an option,” Sen. Sally Doty said.

Rep. Becky Currie said the one seat that has already been appointed should come up for election next year.

“The schools are run by the people, they belong to the people and they are paid for by we the people,” she said.

The people deserve a voice, and the only way they will have their say is with a special election.