KINGSPORT - With the deadline to file petitions for the May 15 election expired, the stage is set for three incumbents and one newcomer to vie for the three open spots on the Kingsport Board of Education.
According to the Sullivan County Election Commission, three sitting BOE members - current President Dr. Randy Montgomery, current Vice President Susan Lodal and Wally Boyd - have all officially filed petitions to run for re-election.
A fourth candidate, Dr. John Hall, has also filed. Calls to the phone number listed for Hall by the Election Commission were not answered.
Boyd was the most recent candidate to turn in papers. He filed Feb. 8.
"With the project of the new new school (to be located in the Rock Springs community), I felt it was good for an incumbent to run who had a knowledge of the history of the project and why we're doing it," Boyd said. "There are a lot of things in education now that it actually takes you a year or two to get a feel for the issues and what needs to happen. So I felt like one more term might be helpful for some of the things that I would like to see resolved, such as the school project and some of the strategic plans for the system over the next few years."
In separate interviews, Boyd, Lodal and Montgomery all cited larger state and federal issues, including school funding, as major issues that could affect school systems in the next term.
"I think there's still a lot of discussion on the funding issue," Boyd said. "I think the BEP (Basic Education Program) Committee not making a recommendation and the governor making his own recommendation ... I think that's still a real issue, and that's going to take careful watch by systems like Kingsport to make sure we don't get left out in the cold. Even Sullivan County that they don't get left out in the cold as well. ... We have to be very diligent to make sure we (keep) at least the same level of funding we have now."