Newcomer wins contested Fort Smith School Board seat

FORT SMITH – Challenger Matt Blaylock beat incumbent Bill Hanesworth on Tuesday in the race for the Fort Smith School Board overall, Position 4, according to the latest but unofficial results from the Sebastian County Clerk’s Office.

Blaylock received 1,025 votes (63%), while Hanesworth received 592 votes (37%). Blaylock is given a three-year term.

Blaylock, 44, said Tuesday night that he looks forward to getting started on the board.

“I will have a learning curve to navigate some of these waters, but I have some great people in my corner to help me do that,” he said. “This is kind of the end of the beginning if you want, and we have to get to work.”

Blaylock is president of Blaylock Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing Services in Fort Smith. He is also a member of the city’s plumbing advisory board. He has a bachelor’s degree in professional studies with a concentration in community outreach from Arkansas Tech University. Blaylock has two children – an 11th grader and an eighth grader – enrolled in the district.

Hanesworth, 71, is the chief operating officer of the Littlefield Oil Co. in Fort Smith. He is chairman of the board and has been a member of the board since 2015.


Sebastian County also had a five-year race for position 3 on the Mansfield School Board, held by Ronnie Black.

Jan Carlton received 66 votes (59%) against Trent Hayslip’s 36 votes (32%) and Adam Hecox’s 9 votes (8%), according to unofficial results. Hecox withdrew from the race on Thursday, according to Meghan Hassler, Sebastian County’s election coordinator.


Barret Ewing received 210 votes (86%), while Shanna Morgason received 34 votes (14%) in the race for position 2 on the Alma School Board, according to unofficial results from Bill Coleman, chairman of the Crawford County Election Commission.

Ewing, 40, is the director of engineering and operations at Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative in Ozark. He graduated from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Ewing has two children – a first-grader and a child who will be attending kindergarten in 2022.


Mountainburg voters approved a proposal to increase the number of mills in the district from 39.1 to 44 mills. Coleman said 125 residents (61%) voted for the increase, while 81 residents (39%) voted against, according to unofficial results.

The district plans to build a multipurpose arena at Mountainburg High School, as well as renovate and build other facilities. The millage increase will add $ 98 per year to the school tax that a $ 100,000 home owner pays.

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