TOP STORY>>Roundup of school contests in area
By HEATHER HARTSELL AND SARA GREENE
Leader staff writers
Voters across the state will head to the polls Tuesday Sept. 19 to vote in local school board elections.
Beebe School Board has one seat open, Lonoke County school boards have six seats open, and Pulaski County Special School Board has one seat open in Zones 4 and 5.
Six school board positions are open in Lonoke County.
Two positions are open on the Cabot School Board, one held by the board’s president and a board member.
Joyce Bender, Arthur Evans and Ken Kincade oppose current board president David M. Hipp, Position 2. Fred Campbell is running unopposed for the Position 6 seat.
Incumbent president David Hipp told the Leader that with all that is going on right now with Cabot schools, his experience the last five years will help him and the board.
“We need experience on the board,” Hipp said. “Our main concern right now is providing enough schools for our students and it will be easier to get that done with people that have previous experience.”
One candidate filed in the Carlisle School District, C.K. Parker, Jr., for Position 2, District 3. England School District also had only one candidate file. Judy Dillow is running unopposed for the Zone 4 seat. Because candidates are running unopposed in both Carlisle and England, voting will be done by absentee ballot or early voting.
Lonoke School District has two board member positions open. Six people are running for the Zone 3, Position 6 seat, formerly held by Neil Bennett Jr.: Cindy Burns, Shannon Holman, Rudy Kurz, Roger D. Lynch, Darrell C. Park and Janice Renee Perkins.
Shannon Holman told The Leader that she has a vested interest in helping Lonoke schools to become the best in the county.
“I’ve two children in Lonoke schools,” Holman said. “I’d like to see the schools continue to improve.”
Holman added that she believes “advocating for our children is imperative to our future.”
Roger Lynch, also running for the Position 6 seat, told The Leader that with his 30 years of management experience for Remington Arms, he “was a champion for a cause when he needed to be.”
Lynch added that he wanted to make sure the school district was financially sound in order to continue with planned expansion and facility improvements.
For the Zone 2, Position 7 seat, Michael Linton is running unopposed. Lonoke voters can cast a ballot at the Lonoke Depot.
Cabot School District voters can cast their ballots at Victory Baptist Church, First Baptist Church Family Life Center, Butler Community Building, Austin Station Baptist Church, Ward Chamber of Commerce, 16th Community Building, Mt. Zion Methodist Church, and Oak Grove Community Building.
Charlie Wood opposes Zone 4 incumbent Ronnie Calva, who took over the remainder of Don Baker’s term last year.
Calva told The Leader that being from Sherwood, he “wants the schools to do better.”
“I have a vested interest in the schools right now,” Calva said. “I’m worried about the kids, the buildings and their education,” Calva continued. “I want to do the best we can for our kids.”
Wood, also from Sherwood, told The Leader that he was not satisfied with the way the Pulaski County Special School District was being run and that prompted him to run for school board.
“I believe the control of the local school system has been taken out of our hands,” Wood said. “I’ve talked before the board and I could look in their eyes and see they weren’t listening,” Wood told The Leader.
“They gave me my turn because they knew they had to, but it went in one ear and out the other,” Wood added. Wood is for a process where the people in Sherwood have a significant say in the way Sylvan Hills’ schools are run.
“Change the process and do whatever we can to take the control out from the bureaucrats and put it back into the parents and local community,” Wood said.
Danny Gililland is running unopposed for Carol Burgetts’ Zone 5 seat. Gililland, who has 18 years business experience with the Popeye’s franchise, told The Leader that he is looking forward to serving the community and bettering the schools in Zone 5.
“All the school buildings are old,” Gililland said. “There are needs to address there and I’m hoping to be able to look into that and see if anything could be done.”
Schools in Zone 4 include Clinton Elementary, Oakbrooke Elementary, Sherwood Elemen-tary and Sylvan Hills elementary, middle and high schools.
Schools in Zone 5 include Arnold Drive Elementary, Bayou Meto Elementary, Cato Elemen-tary, Dupree Elementary, North Pulaski High, Northwood Middle, and Tolleson Elementary.
Jacksonville voters can cast their ballots at North Pulaski High School or First Baptist of Gravel Ridge.
Sherwood residents can cast their vote at the Sherwood Youth Center, Clinton Elem. School, Brockington Road Church of the Nazarene, Sylvan Hills Comm. Church, First Baptist Church of Sherwood, Indianhead Lake Baptist Church, and Sylvan Hills UMC.
In Beebe, Robert Jenkins is running unopposed for the vacant at-large seat held by Butch Rice, who decided not to run for re-election. Although Jenkins is running unopposed, voters can still cast a ballot at the Beebe Church of Christ at 1906 W. Center St.