BY MELANIE WADE –
With the Annual School Election for county school board candidates just around the corner, the Mena School Board has adopted a resolution that will move all future school elections to coincide with the primary and general elections for governmental entities. The change will take place in the 2018 election cycle.
Due to the Annual School Election having been held on the third Tuesday in September, having only school-related ballot candidates and issues, the school has been responsible for the cost, including the use of polling machines and paying poll workers. When the shift is made in 2018, the school will be able to share the cost of the election with other entities.
The costs involved with holding the Annual School Election varies each year depend on how may polling sites are available, number of poll workers, etc. Although future costs are yet to be determined, the shift is expected to save the school district valued funding.
The 2017 Annual School Election will be held on Tuesday, September 19, 2017. Absentee Ballots are currently available at the Polk County Clerk’s office. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Tuesday, September 12, 2017.
Although each district has several expiring positions on their respective boards, Harrison said there are no contested races in the Mena School District or the Cossatot River School District. Those two school districts will not open any polling places on Election Day. Voting will be conducted by early and absentee voting only for voters in the Mena School District and in the Cossatot River School District. Terms for Todd Aynes and Robby Hines are expiring on the Mena School Board. The terms expiring on Cossatot River are for Mark Duggan and Brian Rusty Youngblood.
The Ouachita River School District will have one contested school board race in Zone 5 and will have a polling place on Election Day at both the Acorn Campus and the Oden Campus. There are four terms expiring on the Ouachita River Board, they are: Jason Neugent, Lana Philpot, Robby Strother, and Gene Monk. The contested race for Zone 5 is between Robby Strother and Annette Hays.
Early voting for all districts will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 12, in the County Clerk’s Office and will last until 4:30 p.m. on Monday September 18th. The Clerk’s Office is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
None of the school districts in Polk County are asking for a change to their millage rate during this election cycle.