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Filing begins for positions on school board

[8/4/04]Candidates may file beginning today to seek election to either of the two board seats vacated last week Districts 1 and 5 for public schools here.

Six-year terms for both districts expire Dec. 31, but both seats are already open following resignations of Chad Barrett and Kay Aasand last week.

The three remaining trustees have 24 days to appoint interim replacements, who will serve until December, but no longer than that unless they become candidates and are elected to full terms.

Jan Daigre, an insurance agent who is District 4 trustee and Vicksburg Warren School District board president, said she’s hoping strong candidates will come forward, although the positions offer long hours and token pay.

“It’s time to get involved and become proactive in our school district,” she said. “It’s exactly the same as when I deal with people and their life insurance. Take care of your family; there’s no greater asset.”

Trustees, chosen from the same districts as county supervisors, are paid less than $2,400, yet set policy for a 9,000-student district with 616 certified employees and a $72 million budget.

Candidates have until Oct. 1 to qualify, and must obtain 150 signatures from registered voters who live in the districts on forms available in the office of Shelly Ashley-Palmertree, Warren County circuit clerk.

“The only reason you do it is to make a difference,” Daigre said. “This is by far the most frustrating job I’ve ever had, but you keep on doing it because you want to make a difference in the lives of children.”

School board seats are nonpartisan. When the district was created 18 years ago by combining the formerly separate Vicksburg and Warren County school districts, it was decided that terms would be staggered to prevent any board from having no experienced members.

Aasand resigned because her family is moving to the Jackson area. Barrett did not give a reason, but has been in litigation with the district over a discipline case involving one of his children. Classes for the 2004-2005 school year start Thursday.