Don’t overlook Saturday Picayune school board election

Published 5:22 pm Friday, March 4, 2011

We want to urge residents in the rural District One Picayune school board election not to overlook the contest on Saturday.

The two candidates, for election to the board are: Incumbent Duane Wheat, who has 19 years of experience as a board member, and James R. “Jimmy” Hancock, Jr., who has over 30 years experience as a teacher and administrator in the Picayune and Pearl River Central school systems.

This position is one of two elected positions on the board. Tonny Smith occupies the other elected District Two seat and will face re-election next year. The remaining three board members are appointed by the Picayune City Council.

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So you can see this election is very important because the voters have the direct decision in this matter, and these two elected positions are closest to the taxpayers and residents.

The Picayune school board manages the largest general fund budget in the county, $32 million annually.

According to Wheat, traditionally, there has always been a low turnout for the contest. Whoever wins will serve a term lasting five years. There are three precincts in which you can vote: At Henleyfield Community Center, at the Pine Grove Fire Station No. 1 and at the Picayune High School Auditorium on Goodyear Boulevard. Polls open at 8 a.m. and close at 3 p.m. After the polls close ballot boxes will be gathered at the auditorium, counted, and a winner declared. (See story on Page 1).

In order to be eligible to vote in the contest, you must, of course, be registered, but also a resident of District One and living outside the city limits of Picayune.

Let’s not forget what our school system has been going through, and still faces, in the coming years: Reduced revenue and strained budgets. Some tough decisions are still ahead for our school boards and for the taxpayers who support them.

Here, on Saturday, you have the chance to select, one of five members, on the board, who will help guide the system through the tough times ahead.

It’s like Wheat said, it’s easy to think that you can change the whole system when you first go in, but you soon learn that you are only one of five votes, and to get anything accomplished you have to practice the art of compromise and cooperation.

All we know is that the voters of District One have two well-qualified candidates and that should encourage a large number of voters to trek to the polls on Saturday and cast their vote for the candidate they think would best represent them. Please vote on Saturday in the District One Picayune school board contest.