By MIKE WILLIAMS
William “Bill” Benson has withdrawn from the race for Pulaski County School Board for the Cloyd District.
“I wasn’t going to run anyway. I never announced,” Benson said today about his withdrawal. “I just went out and got signatures. I was the first one to do that. I had several people ask me to run again, and it didn’t look like anyone was going to run in Cloyd District. Anyway, I decided that I would run and then … you know it’s just got so political.”
“All I care about is kids and teachers. As long as the kids are treated well and … you know if you treat your teachers well and they’re happy, the kids are going to learn,” Benson continued.
“My career with Pulaski County has been absolutely fantastic. I have loved Pulaski County even though I’m not a native of the county,” said Benson, who came to this area from Chesapeake.
“I came to Ferrum College for a couple of years then came to Radford, did my student teaching in Pulaski and I’ve been here ever since,” he said.
While he says his career at Pulaski County High School and on the school board has been good, Benson did regret one aspect of the job.
“You know it really bothers me when people want to put you down that don’t even know you,” Benson said.
“I have to say for the other board members who are running again, it’s daggone hard when people put you down that don’t know anything about education. I’ve been there (high school) for 37 years and enough is enough.
“I’m just going to get out. I’ve got that grandson who’s 2 ½ years old and I keep him a lot of evenings and a lot of times during the day, and a lot of times I have to say ‘no, I’ve got a board meeting tonight I can’t keep him’ so…
“It’s that and the fact it’s gotten so political. So many people in the county think they know more about education than those of us who have done it for years and years and years.
“It was just time for me to get out,” Benson said.
Benson was first elected to the school board in 2015 when he defeated Brenda Blackburn for the Cloyd District seat to succeed Joe Guthrie.
He ran for re-election in 2019 and was unopposed.
“I want to thank the citizens who elected me in the last two elections, as well as the ones who signed my petition to run this time,” Benson added.
Benson said he plans to serve out the remainder of his term, which is due to end Dec. 31, 2023.
“Like I said, it’s time for me to do something different in my life. I have no hard feelings with anybody, it’s just too political for me,” Benson stated.
Benson’s withdrawal leaves two candidates on the ballot in Cloyd District – Jacob Price and Aaron Carr.
Leann Phillips, Director of Elections and General Registrar for Pulaski County confirmed earlier today that Benson had withdrawn early enough that his name will not be on the November ballot.
Phillips added she hopes the state will have ballots finalized by the end of this month, then sample ballots will be available.
“I know that is starting to become a question many voters are asking about,” Phillips said.