Two Fort Smith school board seats are up for grabs next spring.

Greg Magness, at-large member, told the Times Record he isn’t running for re-election, because he is also running to be the Division IV circuit judge.

Magness said his school board term ends next spring and he can’t run for two positions at the same time.

One of the things Magness is most proud of is being on the board when they started the districtwide capital improvements.

He said the education in Fort Smith is “top notch” and can compete with many other districts, but the “facilities were lagging.” The Vision 2023 plan is improving facilities.

“It will be beneficial to the schools, students and community,” Magness said. He thinks it will attract new businesses and families to the city. “(The school system) is one of the first things people look for when they’re thinking about moving somewhere.”

Magness, who was originally elected in 2017, said the board as a whole is a “great group” and passionate about ensuring kids receive a quality education.

“I don’t know if you always have that, but every single person there is genuinely interested in education,” Magness said. “I was impressed with that.”

Magness is a candidate for the Sebastian County Circuit Court, Division IV. Judge James O. Cox is set to retire at the end of his term.

Phil Milligan, local attorney, and Rita Howard Watkins, Sebastian County public defender, are also candidates in the race.

The judicial election date is set for March 3, 2020.

Fort Smith Executive Director of Communications Zena Featherston Marshall said the district expects the school board election to be held in March as well based on new legislation, though it’s not confirmed.

School districts were previously allowed to hold elections during the spring, when primaries are, or during the general election in November. The last two school board elections were held in May.

Zone III board member Jeannie Cole is also up for re-election next year. As of 5 p.m. Friday, she did not return a request for comment about whether she intends to run.

With two school board seats up for grabs in the coming year, it’s unclear who the potential candidates will be.

Community leader Sam Price does not expect to run for a seat.

“My only goal right now is doing all that I can to help the people of Fort Smith,” Price said. “While I have not ruled out a run for public office in this upcoming election year, in whatever capacity it may be, I do not currently have plans to pursue such an endeavor.”

Price ran in 2018 for an At-large Fort Smith Board of Directors position but was defeated by Spradling Elementary Principal Robyn Dawson, 55% to 45%.