UPDATE: Jan. 24, 2012 9:41 a.m. — The Kansas City Star is reporting that the election board has disqualified two school board candidates: Lyne’t C. Smith, who filed to run for the at-large seat, and Sanford J. Willis, who filed to run for the seat in the fifth sub-district. Therefore, those seats will be added to the ballot for write-in candidates.
What happens if you hold an election, but nobody chooses to run? The Kansas City, Missouri School District is about to find out.
There are four open positions on the Board of Education. When filing closed last Tuesday, two candidates had filed to represent sub-district 1, one candidate had filed to represent sub-district 5 and one candidate had filed for the at-large position. However, nobody filed to represent sub-district 3.
Candidates for the one contested seat — incumbent Arthur Benson vs. Jonathan Hile — will be on the general election ballot next April.
According to Board of Education Secretary Regina Ferguson, the seat for sub-district 3 will also be on the ballot. Although no candidate will be listed, she says state statute “allows for write-in candidates.”
However, two candidates running uncontested will take the oath of office after the general election. The new board member for sub-district 5 will be Sanford Willis, and the new at-large member will be Lyne’t C. Smith. According to Missouri State statute, when the number of candidates matches the number of vacant positions, no ballot is required. This law is intended to save money for the district, which otherwise would have to pay the bill for the election.
To be eligible to run for a position on the school board, candidates must be at least 24 years old, U.S. citizens and resident taxpayers in the district. They must live in the state for one year preceding the election.
School board members are citizens who volunteer without pay to determine the policies the superintendent uses to administer the district. The superintendent works for them, and they are responsible for tasks such as long-range planning, establishing the salaries and benefits of certified teachers, approving the annual budget and calling elections for tax levies and bond proposals.
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