Parnham takes office; other school board runoffs on tap Saturday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 14, 2004

VIDALIA, La. &045; There will be a new face seated in the semicircle at the Concordia Parish School Board meeting tonight &045; Gary Parnham.

After the former Vidalia Lower principal’s convincing victory over incumbent member Donald Joseph in March 9 primary, Parnham was sworn in last week.

&uot;I’m excited that the people had confidence in me&uot; to elect me, Parnham said Monday.

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Because the school board elections were postponed due to redistricting that was not approved in time for their 2002 election, the board elected in 1998 was serving into the term that should have been elected in 2002.

With three school board races left to be decided, the board will either remain fully intact as it will sit Tuesday night with just one new member or there could be as many as three more new faces by the meeting in May if the incumbents do not win their runoff elections Saturday.

The new school board members &uot;will actually take office, since the term is expired, as soon as they get the commission from the Secretary of State’s office and take the oath,&uot; said Thomas O’Neal, business manager for the school district.

Clerk of Court Clyde Ray Webber swore Parnham in last week, and he has already started to work.

&uot;After 38 years experience with the school system, I’m not nervous&uot; about starting, Parnham said.

Parnham said he attended a personnel meeting already and was going to a finance committee meeting Monday.

&uot;I’m trying to get all the knowledge I can before I make a decision,&uot; he said.

Parnham is no stranger to the system or many of the employees but will begin a new role &045; setting policy for the district.

&uot;I’m looking forward to continue working with my colleagues I’ve worked with before,&uot; Parnham said.

The current school board’s term expired Dec. 31, 2002, according to O’Neal and the unopposed members &045; Martha Rabb, Mary Campbell, Ricky Raven and Raymond Riley &045; will remain on the board.

Current board president Ernest Lynn White was re-elected March 9.

Incumbents Darrell Crofford, Johnnie Brown and Jimmy Wilkinson face runoffs April 17.

Webber said as soon as they open the machines April 20 and send the results to the secretary of state’s office Wednesday, the office will have 10 days to certify the results and mail out commissions to the new school board members.

&uot;As soon as they get their commissions from the Secretary of State, they can take office,&uot; Webber said. Then, they must be sworn in and have 30 days to do so.

Webber said it is up to the members but he can swear them in individually, like Parnham, or together.

As soon as they are sworn in, the school board will be set, but only to serve the remainder of this term &045; until Dec. 31, 2006.