With redistricting of school boards completed in Hempstead County, school elections open Tuesday with early and absentee voting at Hempstead County Courthouse.
Hempstead County Clerk Sandra Rodgers said all early and absentee voting in the Hope, Spring Hill, and Blevins school elections will be conducted in her offices at the courthouse during regular office hours from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday – Friday.
Rodgers said there will not be any special hours for early voting in school district balloting.
Applications for absentee ballots may be obtained at Rodgers' office, as well, during regular office hours, or by mail through the early voting period which concludes Sept. 16.
Election day will be Sept. 17, with all precincts in the Hope Public School District voting at Fair Park Community Center, precincts in the Blevins School District voting at Word of Faith Church in Blevins, and Spring Hill precincts voting at the Spring Hill Fire Department.
All Hope school board members are seeking office under a new districting plan approved in May by a federal judge, stemming from the federal mandate for redistricting after the 2010 U. S. Census.
Filings in Hope include: Zone 1 – Viney Johnson, incumbent, and Janice Milus; Zone 2 – Mildred Green, incumbent; Zone 3 – Willie Buck, Jr., incumbent; Zone 4 – Joe Short, incumbent; Zone 5 – Danny Watson, incumbent, and Val R. Knight; Zone 6 – Denny Dickinson, incumbent, and Larry D. Johnson; and Zone 7 – Jesus Coronado, incumbent.
Under its court-approved redistricting plan, the Hope district has reduced its board from eight members to seven.
U.S. District Judge Susan O. Hickey, of Texarkana, issued a consent order May 3 which incorporates the agreement between the Hope district and Little Rock attorney John Walker as it relates to a 1989 federal court order which established the eight-member school board system previously used by the district.
Hickey said terms of service for board members will not exceed three years in each term, except for members elected in September, 2013, who will draw for terms of one, two or three years.
However, the district remains under federal court supervision relating to its original desegregation order.
No candidates have filed for office in Zone 2 of the Blevins School District, and trustee Mike Parker continues to serve by appointment. Blevins Superintendent Billy Lee said Parker will likely be re-appointed after the Sept. 17 election, even though he does not live in Zone 2, since Parker is the only person willing to serve in the position.
The problem stems from animosities created by the consolidation of the Emmet Public Schools into the Blevins district more than a decade ago, according to Lee.
One contested race will be on the ballot in the Spring Hill School District, with Position 1 incumbent Mary Plant facing challenger Jerry D. Rogers. Eric Fisher and Joey Anderson were the only candidates to file for Position 3 and 4, respectively.