FLORENCE — The Pinal County school superintendent may have to appoint the majority of some school boards in three county districts because no one has filed to run for seats in those districts.
According to the Pinal County School Office website, no one pulled the paperwork or filed to run for any of the open seats on the Stanfield, Red Rock or Sacaton elementary school district governing boards.
According to Arizona Revised Statutes, if no candidates file to run for a school board position, the county Board of Supervisors can cancel that election and the county superintendent must fill the vacant seats using an appointment process.
Monday was the last day to file to run for a seat on any of the school district governing boards in Pinal County. However, who will make the November ballot will not be officially determined until the 10-day challenge period has passed on July 25, said Nicole O’Brien, the senior administrative assistant in the office.
The challenge period allows voters and candidates to question the qualifications, nomination papers and petitions filed by those seeking a position on a school board in Pinal County Superior Court, according to the Pinal County school superintendent’s website. After the challenge period has passed, any candidate who has met the requirements to run will be added to the November ballot.
There are a number of open positions on school boards across the county this year with some governing boards having as many as five seats up for grabs, according to the Pinal County superintendent’s website. Normally two of five members are elected this cycle, but in some cases it is more because of vacancies.
In some areas, the competition for school district board seats will be fierce. For example, five people have filed to run for the two open seats on the Apache Junction Unified School District board, including two incumbent board members, Dena Kimble and Chelsea Connolly.
The Coolidge and Florence unified school districts and the Oracle and Toltec elementary school districts also have more candidates than seats available. Coolidge and Florence each have three candidates running for the two seats they have open on their governing boards. Oracle Elementary School District has four people running for two seats on its board and Toltec Elementary has five people running for four open positions.
In other districts, candidates will probably have an easy time getting elected. In the Picacho Elementary School District, only two people filed to run for the five open seats and one of those running is incumbent board member Michelle McLaughlin.
The county superintendent’s website also lists only one person running for the three seats on the Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology board and one person running for two open positions on the J.O. Combs Unified School District board. The Mammoth/San Manuel Unified School District has two people running for its three open seats.
In a few districts, there’s an even match between the number of candidates and the number of open positions on the boards. The Cobra Valley Institute of Technology has one person running for one seat on its board. The Eloy Elementary and Santa Cruz Valley Union High school districts each have two people running for two open positions. Ray Unified School District has three candidates for three open seats and the Superior Unified School District has four open seats and four candidates.
Five filed for seats in the Casa Grande Elementary School District, three in the Casa Grande Union High School District and three in the Maricopa Unified School District (see separate story in the Thursday Casa Grande Dispatch).
Voters will see the final list of eligible candidates on their November ballots.