|Voters stir up school boards|
|Written by By Sentinel Staff|
|Wednesday, 04 November 2009 11:41|
Otsego Board of Education will take on a new tone in January with three new members - none who are strongly behind the option for a new elementary in Tontogany.
Tallies from Wood County as well as precincts in Lucas and Henry counties within the school district show Grand Rapids resident Mark Tolles took the vote lead with 1,588, closely followed by Judith Snyder, rural Bowling Green, with 1,578.
Brad Anderson was in a close race with William Gase in Wood County - they were separated by four votes - but residents in the surrounding counties pushed Anderson ahead. The Weston resident received 1,377 votes to take the third open seat on the board.
Daren Garmenn, of Grand Rapids, lost his bid for re-election Tuesday, coming in fifth in the six-person race with 865 votes.
Also not making the cut were rural Bowling Green residents Gase, with 1,351 votes; and William Wynn with 815.
Garmenn, Gase and Wynn all had expressed strong support for closing elementaries in Grand Rapids and Haskins and constructing a new elementary on the central campus in Tontogany.
The results this morning remain unofficial.
Tolles, of Grand Rapids, said Tuesday that he had people express to him unhappiness with how the school board has been conducting business and how members didn't seem to be listening to community residents.
"After all, they are the representatives of the citizens and the residents," Tolles stated.
He made a point to visit village council meetings in Grand Rapids, Haskins and Weston to express his views as a candidate.
The challenge of the new board, he said, is "we got to get a community built together. ... We've got to restore the trust of the population of the residents of the board. We've got a big job ahead of us here."
Snyder agreed with voter discontent, especially over recent action by the school board to go ahead with a lease-purchase option for the new elementary without taking the issue to voters.
"I think it was time for a change, and I think (voters) were worried about the lease-purchase" and how that decision could be made without people voting, she said this morning.
The current school board has eight weeks to wrap up its business before the new board takes over - and potentially shifts support for the new school to a minority - and Snyder suggested members either delay moving forward with the new school or include the newly-elected members in the discussion.
"I would hope that they would possibly refrain from a decision ... and not tie up the hands of the next board," she said. "These are really big decisions here.
"I have lots of questions and I still think there needs to be lots of research."
Other school board results, listing votes only from Wood County:
¥ Bowling Green: Incumbents Eric Myers and Ellen Scholl held their seats against challenger Bruce Jeffers. Myers led with 4,078 votes (39.42 percent), followed by Scholl with 3,543 (34.25 percent) and Jeffers, 2,723 (26.32 percent).
¥ Eastwood: Retired teacher Sherri Sheffler will join the board of education after leading the five-person race with 1,845 votes (22.20 percent). The remaining two seats have been held by incumbents Roger Bostdorff, 1,716 votes (20.65 percent), and Denis Helm, 1,669 (20.08 percent). Incumbent Randall Cajka came in fourth with 1,585 votes (19.07 percent) and challenger Mark Schulte, 1,496 (18.00 percent).
¥ Elmwood: Jeff Chapman, on his second attempt for school board, has made the cut. He was the top vote-getter Tuesday with 852 (22.56 percent). Joining him on the board in January will be Brian King, 824 votes (21.82 percent), who is returning after being ousted from the board two years ago, and Craig Miller, 729 votes (19.31 percent). The bottom three candidates in votes were Stephen Davis, 664 (17.58 percent); Kevin Ziegler, 478 (12.66 percent); and Cynthia Veryser, 229 (6.06 percent).
¥ Lake: Incumbent Kenneth Smith has been bumped from the board. With three seats open and four candidates running, Smith collected the fewest votes with 1,176 (18.88 percent). Eric Hirzel was top vote-getter with 1,906 (30.60 percent), followed by newcomer Brad Delventhal, 1,825 (29.30 percent) and incumbent Timothy Krugh, 1,322 votes (21.22 percent).
Margene Akenberger was unopposed for the one-year term that was open.
¥ Perrysburg: There were no challengers for board of election seats. Returning for another four-year term will be Gretchen Downs, 4,508 votes (34.04 percent); Mark Schoenlein, 4,496 votes (33.94 percent); and Valerie Hovland, 4,241 votes (32.02 percent).
¥ North Baltimore: Voters in North Baltimore chose two new faces for its board of education, as well as a former member.
Out of 2,433 votes cast, Timothy Archer Jr. received the highest number of votes, 596 (24.50 percent). Following Archer were Teresa "Tracy" Cotterman with 488 votes (20.06 percent) and Russell Bretz, 411 votes (16.89 percent). Bretz formerly served on the school board.
Incumbents Susan Ebright and Jake Trevino were not returned to the board. Ebright had 395 votes (16.24 percent) and Trevino, 269 votes (11.06 percent). Between the two incumbents was Rochelle "Shelley" Hillard who garnered 274 votes (11.26 percent).
¥ Northwood: Amy Romstadt, who was appointed in 2008 to an unexpired term, will return to the school board in January for a four-year term. She led the vote count with 889 (32.61 percent), followed by 655 for Jeffrey Dunlap (24.03 percent) and 652 for Fritz Kalmbach (23.92 percent). Three members were elected. Desiree Brewer received 530 votes (19.44 percent).
¥ Rossford: Two open seats will be filled by Dawn Burks, who collected 2,137 votes (39.06 percent), and incumbent Diane McKinney, who received 1,900 votes (34.73percent). C. Al Espen Jr. garnered 1,434 votes (26.21 percent).
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