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File cutoff for Arkansas public school boards draws near

by Cynthia Howell | August 9, 2022 at 6:55 a.m.
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Noon on Wednesday is the filing deadline for candidates seeking election to open seats on Arkansas public school boards that hold annual elections in November.

In Pulaski County, the seats open for the Nov. 8 election this year include what is the previously unannounced Zone 5 seat that represents a part of Maumelle as well as the Crystal Hill and Marche areas in the Pulaski County Special School District.

Additionally, Little Rock School District's Zones 8 and 9 are open for election in November, as are Zones 1 and 6 in the North Little Rock School District.

Jacksonville/North Pulaski School District holds its board elections in the spring, which is a choice of timing offered in state law to districts.

Lindsey Gustafson, who holds the Pulaski County Special district's Zone 5 seat and is currently the board's president, was appointed to the seat last August by her board colleagues to fill the board vacancy created by the resignation of Alicia Gillen.

The Pulaski County Special district's website lists the Zone 5 term as expiring in 2023. However, because Gustafson was appointed and not elected to the board seat, state law requires that the seat be open for election at the next regular election, which is Nov. 8 this year.

Arkansas Code Annotated 6-13-611 says "an appointed director ... shall serve only to the next annual school election, at which time the electors shall select in the usual manner directors to serve the unexpired terms of the vacating directors."

Gustafson can take the steps necessary to file as a candidate for the seat and can continue to serve in the seat if she wins the election over any other contenders. The person elected to the seat will serve out the remainder of the term and would be eligible to run for a full five-year term in November 2023.

The five-year terms on the board are unpaid.

Gustafson, the mother of six and a law school faculty member, said Monday that she was weighing whether to seek election to the seat.

"I have not made a final decision," she said in an email response to a question about her possible candidacy, "although I will have to make one very soon."

North Little Rock

Dorothy Williams, a retired educator, is running for reelection from the Zone 1 seat she has held since 2006.

Zone 6 seat is currently held by Valerie McLean, a retired district librarian who was appointed to the board to fill a vacancy created by the resignation earlier this year of J.T. Zakrzewski. Because McLean was appointed to her seat by her board colleagues, she must run as a candidate and win the election for the board seat to continue to hold it. McLean has filed as a candidate with the Pulaski County clerk's office.

Little Rock

Greg Adams is running for reelection from the district's Zone 8 that encompasses part of northwest Little Rock. The current president of the Little Rock School Board, Adams is the married father of two district graduates, and program coordinator for the Center for Good Mourning and Staff Bereavement Support at Arkansas Children's Hospital.

Also open for election is the board's Zone 9 seat that encompasses another northwest section of the district.

Joyce Wesley filed as a candidate for the Zone 9 seat on Monday.

Incumbent Jeff Wood, a parent and an attorney, has said he will not seek reelection from Zone 9.


Print Headline: File cutoff for boards draws near

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