New members will be joining at least three Lexington County school boards shortly.
Voters will make choices Tuesday on replacements for retiring incumbents in Lexington 2 and Lexington 4 while filling a post in Lexington-Richland 5 vacant for 18 months in a dispute over the residency of one board member.
Most of the main contests are focused in the high-growth areas of Lexington 1 and Lexington-Richland 5.
Matches are taking place in all five districts as candidates promote views they say assure quality instruction at reasonable cost.
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Overall, there are 31 candidates – 12 of them incumbents – seeking 16 posts on five boards. All races are nonpartisan.
Here’s a snapshot of key races:
Lexington-Richland 5: The board will be back at full strength with seven members after the ballot.
One post has remained empty while outgoing member Kim Murphy challenged her ouster in March 2013 for alleged nonresidency in Richland County as required. Murphy contends she is the victim of mistakes on county borders.
Five candidates are running for two seats in that side of the district – incumbent Ed White and four newcomers.
Former board member Jan Hammond is attempting a comeback in the four-candidate field on the Lexington side, seeking to oust either incumbent Ellen Baumgardner or Jim Turner.
The focus among candidates has shifted from disagreement on the need and price tag for new schools and renovations to improving technology and staff to make sure schools along the north shore of Lake Murray remain among the best in South Carolina.
Some challengers are making an issue of the pay raise that board members gave themselves last year.
Baumgarder, White and newcomer Larry Haltiwanger are running as a team.
Lexington 2: The race is overshadowed by a separate ballot measure for a tax hike to pay for $225 million in new schools and renovations for classrooms in Cayce, Pine Ridge, South Congaree, Springdale, West Columbia and surrounding areas.
It features seven candidates, including incumbents Phil Carter and Linda Alford-Wooten.
Others in the field include Brad Giles, who helped develop the plan to improve some of the oldest schools in the Midlands; retired teacher Cay Kessler, sister of a board member; and former state Senate candidate Duane Naquin.
Lexington 1: The focus is on the cost of keeping pace with steady growth while assuring schools in Gilbert, Lexington, Pelion, Oak Grove and Red Bank remain among the best in South Carolina.
Three incumbents face challengers who include former county Republican chairman and anti-tax advocate Rich Bolen.
Lexington 1 spans about half of the 720-square-mile county, with increasing development expected to continue there for at least 20 years.