Voters in local school districts will go to the polls next Tuesday for the annual school elections. Polls will open at 7:30 p.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.
Early voting for the election will continue through Monday, Sept. 18. Early voting is being conducted at the Logan County Clerk’s offices in Booneville and Paris during regular business hours. All voting on election day, Tuesday, Sept. 19, will take place at the polls.
In Paris, board member Cory Wells of Paris, who is seeking his second, five-year term on the Paris School Board, is being challenged by Adam Johnson of Carbon City. Wells is an attorney in Paris and also serves as Paris City Attorney. Johnson, a firefighter at Fort Chaffee, is making his first race for elective office. Wells was elected to the Position 4 seat he now holds in 2012 in an uncontested election.
According to Logan County Clerk Peggy Fitzjurls, there hasn’t been a contested race for Paris School Board since 2011. School board races take place each year.
Johnson, a Paris High School graduate who was born and raised in the area, said his campaign is about “giving back.”
“The school district has been good to me and my family,” he said. “I want to do what’s best for the kids and the district, with an emphasis on the kids. All my career has been about service to others. This is a way for me to give back. If I can affect just one student, then it’s worth it.”
Johnson is retired from the Arkansas Air National Guard and has served three tours of duty overseas. He has also worked as a paramedic. He and his wife Heather have two children.
Wells is also a product of the Paris School District. Last week in an interview, he outlined what he thought were his biggest accomplishments in five years on the board.
“Most recently, it would be stopping the communities of learning plan for Paris Elementary School,” he said. “That was about stopping something I didn’t think the community was ready to adopt.
“I also got the school board to switch from using a private auditor to using a legislative auditor,” Wells said. “The rules changed allowing school districts to use legislative auditors and I pushed for that. We’re saving $10,000 a year because a legislative audit is free. I have also supported upgrades in technology to increase learning opportunities for our students and I supported free lunches for all students.
“I have 10 good reasons to want the Paris School District to be successful,” Wells said. “My three kids attend Paris school and I have seven nieces and nephews who will or are attending Paris schools.”
In the County Line School District, incumbent board member Heather Appleton is being challenged by Leisa Hice Smith. Appleton was first elected to the Position 5 seat in 2012.
The two spots on the ballot in the Scranton School District have only one candidate each. Adam Fritche is seeking re-election to the Position 3 seat and Hilda Turner is seeking a full five-year term after serving one year to fill a vacancy. She holds Position 4 on the board.
In Magazine there is a four candidate race for a single open position. Running for Position 3 in Magazine are Brent Haney, Brandy Moore, Glenn Parrish and Michael Springer. However, Parrish had announced he has disbanded his campaign.
The four candidates are seeking to replace Manfred Phillips, who is leaving the board after a decade of service.