At a time when school and county leaders agree tough decisions lie ahead, not enough people are interested in a role on the Blount County Board of Education.

Three seats are on the ballot for the Aug. 6 election, but as of this week, only two candidates can receive votes.

School board member Robbie Kirkland was the only person to meet the April 2 deadline for filing candidate petitions, seeking to retain his seat representing District 4.

Board members Bill Padgett, representing District 2, and Jim Compton, District 6, opted not to seek reelection.

Filling those positions isn’t as simple as voters writing in a name. A person must file a certificate of write-in candidacy for any votes to count.

As of Tuesday, May 19,only David Forster had filed that form for the District 6 school board seat, according to Susan Knopf, Blount County administrator of elections.

Forster, a recreation agreement specialist for the Tennessee Valley Authority, has a daughter graduating this year at William Blount High School and a son finishing ninth grade. His wife, Kelly Forster, is superintendent of recreation for the Maryville-Alcoa-Blount County Parks and Recreation Commission.

“My wife and I love Blount County,” Forster said, and he sees the school board seat as a way to serve the county and continue to improve the schools.

The deadline for filing a write-in candidacy form for the August election is noon Wednesday, June 17.

Michael Trent had picked up a form to be on the ballot for the District 2 seat but did not return the petition by the April deadline. Attempts by The Daily Times to reach him this week were unsuccessful.

If no write-in candidate files for the District 2 seat by the June deadline, that seat will be on the Nov. 3 ballot, Knopf said. Then potential candidates would have until Aug. 20 to file a petition to be on the November ballot.

Failing to fill the spot in the November election would send it to the Blount County Commission to fill.

Compton, who worked for Blount County Schools for nearly 30 years before serving two four-year terms on the board, said he’s never seen a time like this with a dearth of candidates.

Those elected in August will be begin serving in September.

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Amy Beth earned her degree from West Virginia. She joined The Daily Times in 2016 on the education beat covering Alcoa, Maryville and Blount County school systems.

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