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TO PROVIDE THAT BEGINNING WITH THE 2004 ELECTION, MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF THE CHARLESTON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT SHALL BE ELECTED IN PARTISAN ELECTIONS FROM THE NINE DEFINED SINGLE-MEMBER ELECTION DISTRICTS AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE MANNER IN WHICH THESE ELECTIONS SHALL BE CONDUCTED.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. The provisions of this act, notwithstanding any other provision of law, shall govern the election of members of the board of the Charleston County School District beginning with the 2004 elections.
SECTION 2. (A) The governing body of the Charleston County School District must be a board known as the Charleston County School Board. The board shall consist of nine members who, beginning with the 2004 General Election, must be elected in partisan elections in the manner hereinafter specified in this act.
(B) Where a political party chooses to nominate its candidates by the primary election method, the dates of the primary election, and run-off election, if necessary, shall be the same as for other offices filled by that party at their primary. The election laws of this State also shall govern the manner in which the partisan elections for these offices shall be conducted, including selection of candidates, conduct of elections, declaration of results, and assumption of office. Nothing herein prevents a petition candidate from being included on the general election ballot in the manner allowed by law.
SECTION 3. The members of the board elected at the 2004 General Election shall take office as provided in Section 59-19-315 of the 1976 Code, at which time the terms of the present members of the board shall expire.
SECTION 4. Except as otherwise provided herein, the members of the board must be elected at the general election beginning in 2004 for terms of four years. At the 2004 Election, and to provide for staggered terms of office, members of the board must be elected from Districts 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 for terms of four years and until their successors are elected and qualify. Members of the board must be elected from Districts 2, 4, 6, and 8 for terms of two years each and until their successors are elected and qualify. Successors to these members must be elected for four-year terms at the general election every two or four years thereafter as appropriate. All members of the board shall serve until their successors are elected and qualify. Nothing in this act shall be construed to alter the staggering of terms established by this section.
At any election the candidate for each seat receiving a majority of the votes shall be deemed elected. Except for the general election, if no candidate receives a majority of votes cast, there shall be a runoff election held two weeks thereafter between the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes.
The members of the board of trustees shall meet within ten days of their election and shall organize by electing from their number a chairman, vice chairman, and such other officers as they deem necessary. The member elected chairman shall serve as chairman for a term of one year, provided that no chairman is eligible to serve more than two consecutive terms as chairman. All meetings of the board of trustees shall be held in the Office of the Superintendent of Education for the School District of Charleston County or in another location within the county after proper notice to the public. If they so choose, the members of the board shall receive a per diem allowance of twenty-five dollars for meetings actually attended, not exceeding thirty-six meetings in any calendar year, and mileage at the rate established by the Internal Revenue Code for each mile of travel from the place of his residence to and from the meetings. A majority of the board members shall constitute a quorum. Any member who is absent from five consecutive meetings of the board without just cause may be removed from the board upon a majority vote of the members.
A vacancy occurring for any reason other than expiration of a term must be filled by special election for the unexpired portion of the term as provided in Section 7-13-190 of the 1976 Code, unless the vacancy occurs within nine months of the next general election.
SECTION 5. For the purpose of electing members of the Charleston County School Board beginning in 2004, the School District of Charleston County is divided into nine single-member election districts as shown on the official map designated as S-19-00-03(A) prepared by and on file with the Office of Research and Statistical Services of the State Budget and Control Board and as shown on certified copies of the official map provided to the State Election Commission and the Charleston County Election Commission by the Office of Research and Statistical Services. These single-member districts must be reapportioned by the General Assembly at the next census after the effective date of this act and every ten years thereafter based on the most recent census.
SECTION 6. Beginning with the 2004 general election, one member of the School Board of Charleston County must be elected from each of the nine single-member election districts established by law. Each member of the board must have been a legal resident of the district in which he is elected for a minimum of one year prior to the general election and must be elected by the qualified electors of that district.
The county commissioners of election shall conduct and supervise all elections for members of the board in the manner governed by the election laws of this State, mutatis mutandis. The commissioners shall prepare the necessary ballots, appoint managers for the voting precincts, and do all things necessary to carry out the elections, including the counting of ballots and declaring the results thereof. The commissioners shall advertise the date of the election sixty days preceding the election in the newspapers of general circulation published in Charleston County and shall publish a second notice two weeks thereafter. The cost of the elections shall be borne by Charleston County.
SECTION 7. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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