For the first time since 2014, the election of Board of Education members by Rome school district voters will feature a contested race on the ballot, as five candidates are set to seek three available seats.
With Wednesday afternoon the deadline to file nominating petitions with the required number of eligible signatures to be an official candidate in the May 21 public election, these five have done so according to the school district business office:
Board incumbent Paul Hagerty of 5 Selden Drive in Lee;
Board incumbent Lawrence Posselt of 8691 Zircon Lane, Lee;
Tanya Davis, 906 Franklyn St.;
Lisa Herbowy, 407 Elm St.;
Felicia James-Williams, of 7869 W. Thomas St.
Three of the candidates turned in nominating petitions Wednesday, and the others filed theirs earlier this week, according to the district office.
The three seats up for election for three-year terms that begin July 1 include one currently held by Hagerty, who is in his sixth term on the board, and a seat currently held by Posselt, who is in his first full term. The third available seat has been vacant following the resignation of Richard Hitchings, effective last Oct. 1. The board has nine seats overall, with members serving as volunteers.
Previously, school board elections in 2016, 2017 and 2018 all included three official candidates for three available seats, while the 2015 election included just two official candidates for three seats.
The most recent year that saw more official candidates than the number of available seats was 2014, when the ballot had 11 candidates contending for three seats.
The district that year was facing a financial budget crunch, eventually resulting in about 40 fewer employees for the 2014-15 school year.
Among other issues at the time was the Rome Free Academy football coach position.
Currently, the proposed 2019-20 school district budget also is facing financial issues, which have prompted plans to cut some programs including pre-K special education plus eliminate about 75 positions through attrition and layoffs.
The proposed $116.69 million budget will be on the May 21 election ballot to be decided upon by school district voters.
The voting that day will be from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. in the school district’s 10 wards.