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After Randy Williams’s resignation last month, the board is searching for someone to fill his seat until November 2020.

The McDowell County Board of Education voted Monday night to begin accepting letters of intent for the vacant seat in the Marion district, a seat given up by Randy Williams last month.

Starting now, residents of Marion only can submit a letter of intent to the Central Office, located at 334 S. Main St. in Marion. The deadline for letters is Friday, July 19 at the end of the business day. Interviews will begin on Monday, July 29 at the board’s next work session.

The policy for unexpired term fulfillment reads, “All vacancies in the membership of the board of education caused by death, resignation or otherwise will be filled by a person appointed by the remaining members of the board to serve until the next election of board members, at which time the remaining unexpired term will be filled by election. All such vacancies shall be filled by a bona fide resident of the attendance area with respect to which the vacancy exists.”

And, that seat appointment will be filled until the 2020 election.

“Mr. Williams held a Marion seat, and we will be replacing his seat with a Marion resident,” said Chairman Terry Frank. “You have to be in the Marion school district at this time to be eligible for that position. It would be about a year and a half position, and there are no guarantees that you will be reelected.”

Board policy states the function of the board is to have “general control and supervision of all matters pertaining to public schools of the school system and the authority to enforce the school law,” including but not limited to: providing students with a basic education, providing leadership and direction, creating policies, ensuring legal compliance, supporting the superintendent, budget considerations and being an advocate for the school system, its employees and students. Board members are compensated $450 a month, and hold a public meeting once a month at the Central Office. They also serve on committees, undergo work sessions and attend school functions, to name a few.

Old Fort’s representative Patrick Ellis was the last member to be appointed in 2010. Ellis talked about the process he went through to apply for the position.

“As I recall, it was opened up by announcing to the public that the position was open because a board member moved out of the area,” he said. “There were applications handed in, and I think the interviews were about 15 minutes on a work session night. I think that was a fairly easy way.”

Board member Brian Piercy said he’s had about three people contact him already interested in the seat. Then, Greg Barksdale asked what the status is of the proclamation the school board made about establishing a West Marion seat.

“It has not become law at this point. It has passed the House, and I think it is sitting in the Senate,” said Superintendent Mark Garrett. “The last update I got was that it moved out of committee and into the House and was approved.”

However, that change wouldn’t take effect until the 2020 election. When passed, it will take away a Marion district seat and add one for West Marion Elementary.

The board voted unanimously to accept letters of intent until July 19 and hold interviews on July 29 at their next work session. A final vote on the replacement will be at their monthly meeting on Aug. 12.

For more information, call 652-4535 or visit www.mcdowell.k12.nc.us.

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