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School board will keep District 4 seat open

POSTED: March 24, 2014 7:33 p.m.

The Effingham County Board of Education’s District 4 seat could remain vacant until the start of the next school year.

No one will be appointed to the seat until after the May 20 primary election, Chairman Lamar Allen said at Thursday’s school board meeting.

Four candidates — Beth Helmly, Faith Jaudon, Ben Johnson and Amanda Phillips — qualified to run for the District 4 seat, which Mose Mock vacated earlier this year. Helmly and Phillips also sent the school board letters of interest in being appointed to complete Mock’s term.

“Being we have four people running for this board seat,” Allen said, “we don’t feel like we can appoint any of those four (now) because it just wouldn’t be fair to pick out one and appoint.”

The board of education will wait and appoint the winner of the primary to finish Mock’s term, which expires at the end of this year. That person will begin the four-year elected term Jan. 1.

By not appointing anyone now, the school board can “wait until the people decide who’s going to be in the board district (seat),” said Superintendent Randy Shearouse.

If one of the candidates wins the primary with a majority of 50 percent plus one vote, that person will be sworn in at the board of education’s June 4 meeting. However, with four candidates, a runoff will likely be needed to determine the winner.

The primary runoff would be held July 22. The winner would begin serving on the school board at the Aug. 6 meeting, the same day classes start in Effingham County for the 2014-15 academic year.

Though District 4 could still be more than four months away from having a new representative on the board, Allen stated its residents can be heard.

“We’d like to make sure the 4th District knows that, if they have anything come up, they can call me or any board member,” he said. “We’ll be glad to help them.”

The seat has been vacant since Mock made an emotional announcement Jan. 23 that he was stepping down to spend more time with his son, who is battling a rare form of lymphoma. The school board officially accepted his resignation at its Feb. 5 meeting.

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