The former chairman of the Knox County school board gave false information when he filed earlier this month to try to win back the seat, a grand jury has charged.
The grand jury indicted Dexter Smith, 59, on one charge of second-degree perjury. The crime is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up a year in jail, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele.
The indictment was released Monday.
Smith is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in district court. He will plead not guilty, said his attorney, David S. Hoskins.
“We contest the indictment,” Hoskins said.
Smith quit the Knox County school board in April as state police investigated whether he’d had someone else take the GED test for him so he could qualify to hold office.
Board members must have at least a high-school degree or equivalent.
After sitting out a little over three months, Smith filed on Aug. 9 to run for his old seat in the November election.
That required Smith to make a sworn statement that he had the proper educational qualifications.
The grand jury charged that when Smith made that affidavit, he made a false statement about his level of education with the intent to mislead county Clerk Mike Corey, the county’s chief election officer.
Steele said he has no knowledge that Smith had a high-school diploma or valid GED the day he filed for office.
Hoskins said Smith contends he is qualified to seek the office.
Smith told the Herald-Leader on Aug. 9 he would probably drop out of the race because some people had reacted negatively to his candidacy.
However, he was still a candidate as of Monday afternoon, Corey said.
The indictment does not require Smith to get out of the race.
The other candidates for the seat are Ted Ashburn, a physician appointed to replace Smith, and Chuck Stovall.
Trooper Shane Jacobs, a spokesman for the Kentucky State Police post that covers Knox County, sold the Herald-Leader in April that Smith had someone take a GED test for him at the adult-education center in Jackson County in March.
Larry Bryson, an attorney for the Jackson County school district, said at the time that a teacher at Jackson County Adult Education admitted that she took the test for Smith.
The teacher retired as the school district looked into the incident, Bryson said.
Smith had also faced findings by the state Office of Education Accountability that he had improper involvement in personnel matters and in the day-to-day operation of schools, which board members are supposed to leave to others.