A Jasper County school board member -- whose eligibility to serve was questioned after she sent her son to a public school in Beaufort County -- has quit her post, effective immediately.
Alina Hamilton-Clark's resignation Thursday came four days before she was to appear in a public hearing to answer a challenge of her residency and eligibility to serve on the board. Her District 1 seat represents parts of Ridgeland.
"I have concluded for personal and professional reasons that it is best, under all circumstances, for me to resign as a member of the Jasper County Board of Education," Hamilton-Clark said in her letter to board chairwoman Berty Riley.
Attempts Thursday to reach Hamilton-Clark and Riley were unsuccessful.
Hamilton-Clark's resignation also means she will no longer serve as chairwoman of the six-member board of the Beaufort-Jasper Academy for Career Excellence, the vocational school run jointly by the Beaufort and Jasper counties' school districts.
Riley said in a two-sentence statement that all board members had been informed of Hamilton-Clark's decision and that "the board will take any necessary action on this matter at its next meeting." That meeting is scheduled for Monday evening.
"I'm just glad it's over, that's all," Jasper County school board member Tedd Moyd said. "I'm just glad that the whole issue is resolved, and she knows what she was doing and she made this decision in her best interest."
Jasper County resident James Chisolm filed a complaint last week challenging Hamilton-Clark's residency, which has come under scrutiny after her son, DeAngelo Clark, transferred to Hilton Head Island High School from the private Hilton Head Christian Academy.
Clark, a senior wide receiver on Hilton Head High's football team, apparently has remained eligible since his family's address was called into question. S.C. High School League eligibility rules require that the family live at the Hilton Head Island address provided when Clark transferred before the start of the 2014-15 school year. High School League rules also would not allow the family to maintain a second residence.
Chisolm said in his complaint that Clark's eligibility means the High School League and the Beaufort County School District have confirmed the Beaufort County address. That, his complaint says, "... precludes her from serving on either (the Jasper County or ACE) board."
The resignation means a Monday hearing on Chisolm's complaint apparently won't be necessary.
Hamilton-Clark's term was set to expire in November, and she has said she isn't seeking re-election because she has decided to move.
However, a federal judge has called off the elections because the current board member districts contain population imbalances that violate voters' rights. The elections are postponed until new districts can be drawn and adopted, the order said, which likely would not happen until spring.
This likely means her seat will likely remain empty until then, because the board has also been prohibited from holding special elections to fill empty seats until new lines are drawn.
Follow reporter Sarah Bowman on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.
- Jasper resident challenges school board member Hamilton-Clark's eligibility, September 15, 2014
- McCombs: It's best for all involved if Alina Hamilton-Clark resigns, September 16, 2014
- Judge calls off Jasper County school board elections in November, September 9, 2014
- Questions remain over Jasper County school board member's eligibility, September 5, 2014
- Council chairwoman says Jasper board member should resign, August 28, 2014
- Jasper school board member sends son to Beaufort County public school, August 26, 2014
- Indications are Hilton Head Island's DeAngelo Clark will remain eligible, August 28, 2014
- Alina Hamilton-Clark school board profile