Three Aiken County School Board incumbents and a newcomer will face no opposition in the November general election, but no one filed for a fifth seat.
Ray Fleming, the District 5 Board member in North Augusta, is not running for re-election. With no candidates to succeed him, a winner only can be determined through write-in votes.
Cecil Atchley, a retired school administrator, will be the only formal candidate in District 6. He would succeed Dwight Smith, who, like Fleming, chose not to run again.
Three incumbents also will return without any opposition – Chairwoman Rosemary English, District 1 in Aiken; Vice Chairman Levi Green, District 2 in the Beech Island area; and Wesley Hightower, District 3 in the Midland Valley area.
In the District 5 seat in North Augusta, any eligible voter could campaign as a write-in, or anyone could get votes from the public without campaigning. The person with the most write-in votes would be elected. That’s a little disappointing, Fleming said.
“I was hoping there would be a smooth transition,” he said. “I’m not sure I had been aware this was happening. I had given six weeks notice of my intentions and hoped that was enough to get the word out. All we can do is hope ... that somebody will step forward.”
Atchley held coaching and administrative positions before spending five years as a principal. He began that stint when Schofield was a ninth through 10th grade school and then became a middle school.
Since then, he served as an assistant principal at two other schools, and after his formal retirement, took a position at then-Pinecrest Center. He completed his career at the Lloyd-Kennedy Charter School.
Atchley said he supported Smith’s election in 2010, “I’m really excited about running for the Board now,” he said. “I want to make a good, positive difference in the future. Our kids come first.”
Green is concerned that people are not taking the school system seriously.
“Across the county, very few incumbents had opponents,” he said. “That’s true even at the state level now.”
Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard’s education reporter and has been with the newspaper since September 2001. He is a native of Walterboro and majored in journalism at the University of Georgia.