Only one seat on school board to be contested, another seat open

sbowman@beaufortgazette.comJuly 15, 2014 

BEAUFORT COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

  • Incumbents uncontested

    Five incumbents on the Beaufort County Board of Education face no opposition after Tuesday's filing deadline:

    • Michael Rivers -- District 3, St. Helena Island
    • Geri Kinton -- District 5, Burton, Habersham and part of Okatie
    • Evva Anderson -- District 7, includes Rose Hill, Island West and Hampton Lake neighborhoods in greater Bluffton
    • Mary Cordray -- District 8, parts of Bluffton and Hilton Head Island
    • Bill Payne -- District 10, parts of Hilton Head

Only one of seven Beaufort County Board of Education seats up for re-election in November will be contested, according to candidate petitions filed Tuesday.

And one seat has no candidates.

School board chairman Bill Evans will be challenged by Terry Thomas, a retired businessman and former substitute teacher, for the District 2 seat representing Lady's Island, according to the Beaufort County Board of Elections and Voter Registration.

Evans has served on the school board since 2010 and was elected chairman in 2012. Before that, he served in the school district for 24 years as both a principal and a district-level administrator.

Attempts Tuesday to reach him were unsuccessful.

Thomas retired to Lady's Island about 15 years ago after a business career and began working in the local schools as a substitute teacher.

He had planned to run for the seat in 2010 but was unable to do so after his dog Spencer -- a Labrador and bull mastiff mix that was 8 months old at the time -- ate his petition, he told The Beaufort Gazette four years ago.

"I don't know how to give up; I've never learned that," Thomas said. But he did learn to keep his petition away from his dog, and submitted it by the filing deadline of noon Tuesday.

To file for election, school board candidates must collect signatures from 2.5 percent of the registered voters in the area they wish to represent. Evans and Thomas needed 264 signatures each.

Evans turned in 353, and Thomas turned in 275, according to according to Marie Smalls, county elections director.

All of the school board candidates' petitions must be validated and certified by the elections board before their names can appear on the ballot, Smalls said. State law requires verification by Aug. 15.

AN OPEN SEAT

One school board seat up for re-election this fall remains open, as District 4's Jim Beckert will run for Beaufort County auditor. Beckert faces no opposition in the November auditor's election. His departure from the school board will leave vacant the seat representing Port Royal.

Beckert said some community members and parents have asked him about the seat and serving on the school board. Many of them didn't feel they could balance their career, family and board responsibilities, he said.

He's confident someone will announce as a write-in candidate before the November election, however.

Write-in candidates' names do not appear on the ballot, but can be written in on the blank line for the appropriate position, according to Smalls.

Staff reporter Zach Murdock contributed to this report. Follow reporter Sarah Bowman at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.

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