Two candidates qualify for special school board election in Concordia Parish

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2022

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VIDALIA — Two candidates have qualified for the March 26 special election to fill the Concordia Parish School Board District 5B seat. The deadline to qualify was Friday, Jan. 28.

The candidates include Nicky Pere and Matthew Taunton, both Republicans.

Pere currently holds the seat after being appointed by the school board as a replacement for former board member John Bostic.

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Bostic stepped down from the seat in November before the end of his term for health reasons.

Taunton also applied to fill the vacancy while the school board was taking applications. The school board interviewed three interested candidates, including Taunton, Pere and Ralph Simmons, and ultimately chose Pere as their appointee.

After the interviews, each board member wrote their choice on a sheet of paper and passed it to the clerk. The votes were read aloud without revealing how the board members voted individually. Seven of the eight board members voted for Pere and one voted for Taunton.

Pere told the board he has 14 years of experience in education, having served as a teacher, coach, athletic director and administrator in the early part of his career.

Pere’ said he also has a business background and experience in money management and financial planning, which he gained by owning and operating a large farm.

He and his wife Sarah have been residents of Monterey, La., since 1972, he said.

Taunton, who is employed at the Vidalia Fire Department as a Battalion Chief, said he would give a unique perspective to the school board not as an educator but as a “concerned citizen” with a strong connection to the Concordia Parish community.

As a lifelong resident of Monterey, Taunton said he could do a great job of representing the people there, hearing their voice and bringing their concerns to the school board.

According to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website, the deadline to register to vote in person or by mail for the March 26 election is Feb. 23 while deadline to register through GeauxVote online registration system is March 5.

Other than military and overseas voters, the deadline to request an absentee ballot is March 22. Early voting is March 12 through 19 from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., excluding Sunday, March 13. The deadline for a registrar of voters to receive a voted absentee ballot is March 25.

On election day, the polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

All school board seats, including District 5B, will also be up for a regular school board election on Nov. 8. Also on Nov. 8, Concordia Parish will be electing a tax assessor to replace Jerry Clark, who retires on March 31. The Town of Vidalia will be electing a City Court Judge and City Court Marshall. Qualifying for the Nov. 8 elections is July 20 through 22. A runoff, if needed, is scheduled for Dec. 10.