Fort Smith School Board President Susan McFerran has kept her seat on the board, unofficial election results showed Tuesday (May 21) night. McFerran was challenged for the Zone 2, Position 1 seat by Robert “Robbie” Wilson.
Unofficial results showed McFerran receiving 163 votes (61.98%) and Wilson receiving 100 votes (38.02%). Talicia Richardson was unchallenged in her re-election bid for her second term in the at large, position 5 seat on the school board. Only 748 votes were cast in Sebastian County, or just 1.12% of registered voters.
McFerran, who will begin her eighth year on the school board with this term, taught school for 32 years. Wilson, a graduate of Southside High School and Arkansas Tech University, is a regional sales manager at a solar panel company.
“I am absolutely thrilled to continue the work of the Vision 2023. I’m also grateful to this community for their support,” McFerran said. “This election proves once again that exercising your right to vote matters. There are exciting opportunities for our district.”
In 2018, Fort Smith voters said yes to a school millage increase, the first in 31 years, with approximately 62% of voters approving the 5.558 millage gain to support the district’s Vision 2023. The new rate is expected to raise $120.822 million, $35 million of which will go toward district-wide safety improvements. The proposal calls for $10.365 million to secure the walls and doors of Barling, Cook, Morrison, and Woods elementary schools.
An additional $5.5 million will be allocated for improvements to access controls, alarms, lighting, and accessibility measures across all campuses by this fall.
Other noteworthy items include a new Career and Technology Center featuring specialized lab spaces and classrooms for courses in healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing.