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County school board qualifying ends next week

No new candidates for the Lincoln County School Board qualified this week, and there are just four more business days remaining for those wishing for a shot at the election to get the job done.

Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Dustin Bairfield issued the reminder that qualifying ends at 5 p.m. next Friday, Sept. 7, and he reiterated his request for any remaining candidates to bring in their qualifying forms sooner rather than later. Anyone who waits until the last minute to turn in their 50 signatures from the district in which they live may be disappointed if those signatures add up to 49.

“It usually takes us a good day to verify the signatures, so if you wait until the last minute and come in here at 4 o’clock Friday afternoon and you’re short of 50 signatures, by the time we get them verified it could be after the 5 p.m. deadline,” Bairfield said. “It’s very unfortunate, but that happens occasionally. That’s why we urge people to bring them on in — don’t wait until the last minute.”

So far, four candidates have qualified.

Justin Laird has qualified for the seat currently held by District 1 board member Kay Coon, and incumbent District 2 board member Johnny Hart has signed up to defend his seat against retired Loyd Star coach Billy Vaughn, who qualified last week. Physical therapist Tim Cunningham has also qualified to run for the District 5 seat currently held by Joanna Posey.

Qualifying for three of the board’s five seats began Aug. 8 and continues through Sept. 7 at 5 p.m. Districts 1 and 2 are for full six-year terms, while the District 5 race is a special election to fulfill the remaining four years of the term.

The races will be on the general election ballot Nov. 6.

The seats are on the block in 2018 to correct the board’s election cycle getting out-of-sync with the state election calendar years ago in a slip-up somewhere between the district and state.

In order to qualify, a candidate must file a statement of intent and petition containing the signatures of at least 50 qualified electors of the school district zone in which he or she lives. There is no qualifying fee.

There are five zones for the Lincoln County School District, and they do not match up with the four schools’ residency zones or the five county supervisor districts. A map of the school and board member zones is available online by clocking the “forms” button at dustinbairfield.com.

Bairfield suspects more candidates will come forward next week in the final days.

“Based on the phone calls, I would have thought we’ve had gotten in a few more. I think we’ll have one or two more qualify before the deadline next week,” he said.

The circuit clerk’s office is closed Monday for labor day, leaving only four days for potential candidates to sign up.

“Next week we need to have them,” Bairfield said. “Bring them in early, and that way if they’re short, there will still be time to go back out and get what you need.”