City voters will decide on school board in April

Published 9:32 pm Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Registered voters in Selma will have the opportunity to decide April 28 if they want an elected school board or have the city council continue to appoint members.

The city recently received approval from the U.S. Department of Justice to hold the election. In Alabama and other southern states, the Justice Department must approve all changes in elections or special elections.

If the referendum passes the city will have to hold another election for those seeking office as members of the Selma City Board of Education, according to Jimmy Nunn, the city’s attorney.

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Here is a list of questions and answers about the election of school board members, should the April 28 measure pass:

How many people will be on the school board? Five

When will the election to elect board members be held? The special election will be called by the Selma City Council as soon as practical.

What will be on the “second election” ballot? Individuals who have qualified to run for one of the districts.

Could there be a run-off election? Yes, if a person does not receive a majority of voters casting a vote.

Do the members have districts or are they elected at-large? The members have districts that would composed like this:

School Board District 1 would be composed of city Wards 1 and 2

School Board District 2 would be composed of city Wards 4 and 5

School Board District 3 would be composed of city Wards 3 and 8

School Board District 4 would be composed of Wards 6 and 7

The school board’s chair would be elected at-large

Do the school board members have to be residents? Yes.

Does the board member have to live within their district? Yes. That person must be a resident of the respective district for at least one year preceding the deadline for qualifying as a candidate.

Is there an age requirement to be a board member? Yes. A person must be at least 19 years old.

If I have been convicted of a crime, can I qualify to be a candidate? A candidate shall not have a record of conviction for any crime involving moral turpitude, unless pardoned by the appropriate authority.

How much is the qualifying fee? The city council will determine and set the qualifying fee.

Once elected as a member of the board, how long does a member serve? The newly elected school board members will take office immediately and the initial terms of office shall correspond in duration with the remaining portion of the terms of office of the members of the city council elected in 2008.

If there becomes a vacancy on the board, how is it filled? It is filled by a majority of the remaining members of the board of education.

If the remaining board cannot decide on who to appoint, then what happens? If the vacancy is not filled within 60 days, the city council, or a designee of the city council shall notify the state superintendent of education, who shall fill the vacancy within 30 days after notification.

Does the person filling the vacancy have to be a resident of that district? Yes.

Will the board members be paid? Yes. Members, including the chair, shall be compensated in the amount of $600 monthly.