28-year Jasper County School Board member ousted

Jasper County residents ousted a 28-year veteran of the school board Tuesday night in favor of a newcomer for the District 9 seat.

  • Retired Chatham County educator Barbara Clark won 51 percent of the vote, defeating Pat Walls, one of the longest-serving members on the board.
  • Clark, 58, promised not to disappoint the voters who elected her by working to improve academic achievement in Jasper County schools.

    "Evidently, the people of District 9 thought it was time for a change," she said.

    Clark, who volunteers in Jasper County schools and said she had pondered a run for years, campaigned on the issue of whether separate janitorial staffs at each school would be more effective than maintenance teams hired by the district.

    In the District 7 race, Priscilla Fraser -- who has served on the school board for 16 years -- took 53 percent of the vote over challenger Shelia Polite-Walker.

    Fraser, 52, places improving students' academic performance as her top priority and wants the district to do more to help students earn high grade point averages and pass achievement tests. She said she looks forward to working with superintendent Vashti K. Washington over the next four years.

    All other county races were uncontested, including school board Districts 1, 3 and 5.

    Jasper County, as it usually does, leaned heavily Democratic in Tuesday's balloting. For example, long-shot Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene, who was walloped by GOP incumbent Jim DeMint, carried the county with 52 percent of the vote. Fifty-eight percent of Jasper voters also supported Democratic gubernatorial nominee Vincent Sheheen, who lost his race with Republican Nikki Haley.