A special election in conjunction with the July primary will decide the District 5 representative on the Bartow County Board of Education.
Following questions on the validity of the recent appointment of Anna Sullivan, Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk said yesterday officials will call for the July 31 special election in about two weeks.
Following Larry Parker's Dec. 31 resignation, the board appointed Sullivan to fill the seat through the end of the year. Cartersville Patch reported from the Feb. 6 swearing in and board meeting that Sullivan, to keep the post, would have to qualify for and run in the July primary and, if elected, run in the November general election.
But during last week's board meeting, a member of the community questioned the timing of Sullivan's appointment as it related to the March presidential preference primary and various laws on the books, The Daily Tribune News reports.
Kirk said officials for more than a week have worked to determine the proper course of action, which involves local legislation and code sections of state law.
BartowPolitics.com yesterday said the board seemed to have violated its own policy in appointing Sullivan. Today the website, operated by former Bartow County Republican Party chairman Michael Huneke and wife Melissa, said local legislation would trump state law, and the District 5 post seemingly should be vacant until the special election.
It's not the first time the county school officials have come to their own defense amid speculation of policy violations. Although one school board policy seemed to state otherwise, officials in January said chairman Davis Nelson did not violate policy when he ran for his seat while employed by a private school.
Three people expressed interest in Sullivan's seat in writing, but the board whittled down the trio to two finalists. The move preceded another round of budget cuts, including layoffs and additional furloughs, and a call by local Republicans to void a plan to raise property taxes to help cover a $2 million shortfall.
School officials have indicated next fiscal year's budget situation may be even more dire, as the system dwindles its reserve to make up for decreasing state and local funding.