North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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December 12, 2013

Process to fill Rhodes' seat on Jefferson County Board of Education begins

The Jefferson County Board of Education has received 19 letters of interest from people seeking to fill a vacancy on the board.

Ronald Rhodes, a Corner resident who had served on the board since 2000, has stepped down because of what a JefCoEd statement called “family responsibilities.”

By Alabama law, the board must fill the vacancy within 30 days of the resignation, which became official on Nov. 21. But because of the Christmas holidays, board president Jennifer Parsons sought an extension from State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tommy Bice. He granted that extension until Jan. 31, 2014.

Spokeswoman Nez Calhoun said the board will likely discuss the vacancy and its procedure for selecting a replacement at its next meeting, which has been rescheduled for Dec. 17 at 10 a.m. (The meeting was originally scheduled for its regular third-Thursday slot on Dec. 19, but was moved because board members had conflicts with that date and a quorum would not be present.)

The person who fills Rhodes’ seat will serve until November 2018. Rhodes was elected to his third six-year term in 2012.

State law gives few requirements for someone to serve on the board, aside from residing within the school district. The law simply says that members “...shall be persons of good moral character, with at least a fair elementary education, of good standing in their respective communities and known for their honesty, business ability, public spirit and interest in the good of public education.”

Calhoun said this is the first time someone has resigned their school board seat since March 1983. That seat was given up by Mary Buckelew, who later became president of the Jefferson County Commission before pleading guilty to federal corruption charges as part of a deal with prosecutors over the investigation into the county’s bond-swap scheme.

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