by Tammy Moore Teague
It was Lesli Baggett’s intent to run for this year’s school board election. However, that was as far as her campaign got, as misinformation from the Sebastian County Clerks office thwarted her bid.
Anyone who intends to run for a school board position in the State of Arkansas must meet certain requirements.
The initial decision is not one to be made lightly. The intent to run should be made for the right reasons with willingness to serve and keeping best interest of our children and district at the top of the list. “I love our Mansfield Tigers and our school from the top to the bottom,” Baggett said. Those who seek this position are not only bound by moral obligation but also by law, as the actions of one can result in the removal from office or entire school boards.
Secondly, to be eligible for a board position, you must be a qualified voter residing in the school district as well as a clear criminal background. Lastly, the candidate must collect signatures in order file an intent.
“I got my paperwork filled out and all of the 20 plus required signatures to run,” Baggett added. “I went and turned it in on Wednesday, February 28th and I had not put in the position number since I wasn’t sure what it was.” The clerk instructed me that the position number that was up for election was number four, but then said “hold on there should be two positions” Being uncertain of how to instruct Baggett, the clerk phoned the Fort Smith clerks office for advice. Following a lengthy discussion, she was instructed to indicate position two, unexpired four year term. It was that instruction that cost Baggett her run.
“This morning (Thursday, March 1st) I found out that they were wrong in the clerks office and I should have never been told to put that position number.” That error voided not only her application but also all the signatures she had collected. Because of the lateness of being notified, Baggett was not afforded the time needed to go to the clerk’s office at the Greenwood courthouse and then find 20 plus people needed for the signatures to be able to refile the necessary paperwork back at the Greenwood courthouse before noon.
“Next time I’ll have all my research done. Even if I had known it was position four, I would have changed it to two upon their advise,” Baggett said. “I mean that’s their job to know that stuff right?”
She went on add that wanted to extend her gratitude to those who have encouraged and supported her.
Note: Resident Press reached out to both the Sebastian County Clerks office and the Arkansas School Board Association for comment, but neither have answered our request.