Article 11 Section 12 of Tennessee’s Constitution requires the General Assembly to provide for a system of free public schools. The legislature chose to do this through a system of locally elected school boards. However, state law does not establish a specific number of seats each board must have. The Lincoln County board of education operates by having each of the eight districts represented on the board.
Four of the eight school board seats will be on the Aug. 4 county general election ballot representing districts one, three, five and seven, each elected to four-year terms. Elections are staggered so only a certain percentage of board members are up for election, according to election officials.
School board District 1 is currently held by Sammy Tucker, who is seeking re-election and is unopposed. Stan Golden currently represents District 3. He is not seeking another term. Martha Tallman and Kevin Winsett are vying for this seat. Veronica R. King represents District 5 and is running unopposed. Angelia M. Cannon and Rex H. Dunn are candidates for District 7, currently held by Jared Bradley. He is not on the ballot.
Qualifications for serving on the school board include being a citizen of Tennessee, 18 years of age, a resident of the school district, a registered voter and be a high school graduate or have earned a general education development test or GED, which provides the same benefits as graduating high school, as awarded by the state of Tennessee.
The board of Education is a policy-making legislative body, however, except during an official meeting, a board member has no more power, authority, or jurisdiction over school matters than any other citizen in the community, according to state guidelines.
What is the role of the board of education? According to the Lincoln County Board of Education Policy manual, the board is responsible for the following:
• General - oversees the operation of the school district in compliance with state and federal laws. Its functions include, but are not limited to, developing and adopting a strategic plan in consultation with the director of schools, approves school zones, district calendar, insurance provider and modifies the agenda at the beginning of each board meeting. It also can approve the closure of facilities, as needed.
• Fiscal - approves and adopts the budget, adopts district salary schedule and differentiated pay plan, approves funding for the district maintenance plan and capital request, approves location and scope of new building projects and approves bids.
• Instruction and Student – adopts the curriculum and textbooks, reviews student disciplinary issues appealed to the board and makes a final determination; authorizes or prohibits the use of corporal punishment and approves or deny admission of students expelled from other school districts.
• Personnel – employs and evaluates the director of schools, grants tenure to eligible teachers and dismisses tenured teachers.