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Board appoints Johnson to District 4 seat
Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson takes the oath of office from Probate Judge Beth Mosley before the start of Thursday's Effingham County Board of Education meeting.

SPRINGFIELD -- The Effingham County Board of Education has temporarily filled its District 4 vacancy.

During Thursday night's regularly scheduled meeting, the board appointed Ben Johnson to  the seat formerly held by Beth Helmly. Helmly resigned July 16  so that her daughter, Katy Whitten, could become an assistant principal at Effingham County High School. 

A state law enacted in 2009 prohibits school board members and superintendents from having immediate family members in high-ranking positions in the districts they serve.

Johnson opposed Helmly, an incumbent, in a 2016 election. She prevailed 620-330.

In a related move Thursday, the board set a date of March 24, 2020, for voters to decide who will fill the remainder of Helmly's term. March 24 is the next date that a county election is slated, meaning the board won't have to pay the cost of a special election.

Johnson is eligible to run,

See more about Thursday's meeting in the Aug. 21 edition of the Effingham Herald.