Hammond and Loveless are elected to represent the citizens of Lexington County on Lexington-Richland
Irmo, SC (Paul Kirby) - Jan Hammond and Ken Loveless were elected Tuesday to represent the citizens of Lexington County on Lexington-Richland School District Five’s school board. This board governs the schools in the Irmo and Chapin area. District Five is different from any of the other Lexington County school districts in that it straddles the Lexington-Richland County lines. The makeup of the board is mandated to have three members who reside in Richland County, and four who reside in Lexington County. Two of the Lexington County seats were in play and those were held by incumbents Jan Hammond and Ellen Baumgardner.
The key issue in this race was spending. In most cases, people weren’t questioning the success of the district, rather their building programs, especially where they buy land and build schools. In the area close to Lake Murray Elementary School, land had been acquired after the last bond referendum to build a new school to take the pressure off Lake Murray. The tract known as the Derrick Pond property, was never built on and current and former board members say they have never been fully informed about why that has not happened. Later, a second tract was acquired off Amicks Ferry Road nearer to Chapin. There was a huge public outcry after it was announced that the new elementary school would be built on that land. The majority of students who would attend Amicks Ferry school would have to ride with parents in cars or on buses through the heart of the already congested Chapin.
In the Lexington County side of the race, only Chapin resident and Cayce businessman Ken Loveless filed to run against the two ladies who held the seats and were running for re-election. Incumbents Jan Hammond, an active school teacher who works in Lexington District Two, and Ellen Baumgardner, a Disability Hearing Officer with the State of South Carolina, also live in Lexington County. The other Lexington County seats were not in play during this election.
When the votes were counted Tuesday night, incumbent Hammond received 11,084 votes and newcomer Loveless had received 10,122. They won the two Lexington County seats. Incumbent Ellen Baumgardner came in third with 8,702 votes to lose her seat at the table. This vote count was considered the final numbers.