AIKEN --- Five of nine Aiken County school board seats are up for election this November, but the lack of filings could make for an uneventful election.
Only four candidates have officially filed petitions for the five seats.
Open seats include:
- District 2 in Beech Island and Jackson, held by Levi Green. No one has filed for this position, but Green said he will run for re-election.
- District 3 in Bath, held by John Wesley Hightower. Hightower and Howard Shelton, a former Orangeburg County school board member, have filed.
- District 5 in North Augusta, held by Ray Fleming. Fleming has filed for re-election.
- District 6 in Graniteville. Former Aiken County principal Dwight Smith has filed for the seat.
- District 7 in Aiken, held by Rosemary English. No one has filed for the seat, but English has said she will run for re-election.
School board chairwoman Christine Harkins, who held the District 6 seat for eight years, resigned last month because of health issues and will not seek re-election.
Aiken County Elections and Registration director Stewart Bedenbaugh said the low number of candidates could be attributed to the location of the seats. Fewer candidates tend to file in rural areas.
With candidates having until Thursday at noon to file, though, Bedenbaugh said it's hard to know who will turn in petitions later this week.
School board candidates run nonpartisan elections and must file petitions with signatures from at least 50 registered voters in their district.
Green said deciding to dedicate another four years to the school board isn't a decision taken lightly. He said with a difficult budget year ahead of the board, he wanted to run toward the problem rather than away from it.
"After four years, you feel like you're pretty grounded and you're really helping effect change. We have challenging times and there's going to be some major changes ahead," he said.
Green said the board will likely tackle the purpose of administrative offices as part of the next budget process, something that hasn't been changed in more than 30 years.
"We'll have to decide when and if we're going to reorganize the district so we'll have all the efficiency we can," he said. "We can't sit idly by."
The $236 million school bond referendum from May will also likely play a big role in the upcoming election.
Seventy percent of voters voted no on the referendum, and many opposed to the election voiced they'd like to see new faces replace incumbents who supported the referendum.