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School board to appoint new member Monday

The Lincoln County School Board will choose its fifth member Monday after voting to put off the appointment one more week.

The four current members of the Lincoln County School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to table the appointment of a new member to fill the vacancy in Educational District 3 Monday evening after agreeing they need more time to review the applications of six Bogue Chitto-area residents who have asked to be considered for the job. The board will make the decision at a special-called meeting Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. at the district office on Monticello Street.

“I didn’t get a chance to open my packet until Sunday,” said District 2 Trustee Johnny Hart. “I’m comfortable waiting another week.”

Hart seconded District 1 Trustee Kay Coon’s motion to table the appointment and the board voted 4-0 to handle the decision next week. Board members did not receive the applications until late last week and have only had the weekend to consider them.

Applications for the vacancy were submitted by Brown Forestry owner Perry Brown, counselor Barbara Buie, artist and stay-at-home mother Stephanie Davis Holmes, Navy veteran and technology professional Brian Magee, retiree and substitute teacher Debbie Thompson, and legal assistant Dallas Wallace.

State law allows the board 60 days to fill the vacancy created by the Sept. 10 resignation of former board member Ricky Welch. The board may choose from among the six applicants or name anyone they want who lives within the boundaries of ED3. The appointed board member will serve out the remaining year of Welch’s unexpired term and run for a full term in the 2019 general election.

Board attorney Jim Keith advised the board to “throw a name out on the table for consideration,” and members started down that path before agreeing to table to the appointment.

“Brian Magee — I’m very impressed with him,” said District 2 Trustee and board President Diane Gill. “He’s a ‘96 graduate of Bogue Chitto and what he does is technical. He seems like he is very passionate and has children in school at Bogue Chitto.”

Coon said she was impressed with Buie’s academic resume and was a fan of Magee’s, too. Hart said he felt good about both applicants.

“But you can only appoint one,” Keith said.

Hart and District 5 Trustee Joanna Posey each said they’d narrowed down their preferences — Hart said he was “down to two” — but neither one submitted a name for discussion. 

This year’s general election will decide the majority of the board on Nov. 6, two weeks after the current board makes the appointment for ED3.

Coon will leave the board when he term ends in January after she decided not to seek reelection. Justin Laird, an information technology professional with the U.S. Coast Guard, will take over the ED1 seat in an unopposed race.

Hart will defend his seat against retired Loyd Star coach Billy Vaughn, and Posey faces two challengers for her job on the school board — physical therapist Tim Cunningham and retired teacher Lora Hedgepeth.

The race for District 2 is a general election for a six-year term. District 5 is a special election for a four-year term. The District 5 election was skipped in 2016 and will be held again in 2022.