Tuesday, July 07, 2015

TOP STORY >> School board filings end

Leader senior staff writer

While U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall could intervene in the Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District’s first board election after he meets with desegregation litigants at 1:30 p.m. July 20, JNP Attorney Patrick Wilson said Tuesday afternoon he doesn’t believe that will happen.

John Walker, attorney for the Joshua Interveners in the sprawling Pulaski County desegregation, has challenged the five-zone, two-at-large school board arrangement chosen by the Jacksonville-North Pulaski district and petitioned Marshall for the conference.

Walker maintains that configuration flies in the face of desegregation agreement requirements and could hurt minority representation.

The current, appointed school board, with five black and two white members, voted unanimously for the five-zone, two-at-large configuration after studying several proposals from Metroplan.

As of close of filing at noon Tuesday, three current, appointed board members — all of them black — are running unopposed and two have an opponent, according to documents on file in the Pulaski County clerk’s office.

School elections will be Sept. 15.


Current JNP School Board president Daniel Gray is running unopposed for at-large Position 1. The current vice president, Ron McDaniel, is being challenged by Celeste Williams for at-large Position 2.

Carol Denise Miles, the board secretary, is unopposed in her bid for the Zone 2 seat, and board member LaConda Watson is unopposed seeking the Zone 4 seat.

In Zone 1, school board member Richard Moss is being challenged by Marcia Anne Dornblaser.

Jim Moore, Jerald Reichenbach and Barry Roper will face off in a three-way race for the Zone 3 seat.

In Zone 5, Dena Toney is running unopposed.

Although JNP is not a party to the desegregation case, Marshall said Tuesday that it would be permitted to file a response to Walker and address the court on those issues, according to Wilson.

It is conceivable that he could stop the election, Wilson said, but “I don’t know that the odds are very good that he would do that. A couple of boards have already approved of the 5-2 model.

“I think its clear that the board in place has seriously considered the different plans,” Wilson said, “and took the racial impacts into account.”

In Lonoke, Ross Moore and Charlie Hunter are running for the Zone 2, Position 1 seat that was held by Karen James, who was elected to the seat for a one-year term to finish her husband Chris’ term. He passed away in 2013.

Angela Sumner is running unopposed for Zone 3, Position 2. Johnie Watson was reappointed to the position in 2014. He was appointed to the position in 2013 after the late Rick Pennington vacated the seat.

Matt Boyles, who holds the Zone 2, Position 7 seat, has moved to another part of town and is running for the Zone 4, Position 5 seat against Melissa Swint.

The Zone 4, Position 5 is held by Karl Pennington, who moved to another part of town. The Zone 2, Position 7 seat is open and will be appointed.

In Cabot, Sarah Owen is running unopposed. She is a new candidate and will succeed Fred Campbell, who is stepping down.

Beebe school board member Janet Hines is unopposed.