School election results final, but vacancies remain
Election results are in and Yuma voters have chosen a number of returning board members, as well as some new candidates for local school districts.
Yuma County School Superintendent Tom Tyree said a large number of those elected were incumbents, “which I guess ... suggests that for the most part people were interested in maintaining the composition of the boards because they probably generally liked the direction their school districts were going in.”
He noted, however, that five school board positions are still unfilled. “We always would like to have more school board interest. The better candidate pool you have, the better the results are going to be.”
During the next election in two years, Tyree said, his office plans to do something new to help the community learn more about how to become a school board member: hold a public meeting for people who might be interested in running for a school board.
“A lot of people don't always understand the process of what you need to do to go out and get your petitions and the paperwork and the things you need to do... During the meeting we would talk about the process so we have an informed group of people in terms of what the job entails and what they need to do if they are interested in getting their names on the ballot.”
During the recent election, at Arizona Western College Melissa Wright garnered the most votes for the District 2 position in La Paz County with 1,105 votes; Dennis Booth ran unopposed and won the District 3 spot in Yuma; Olivia Zepeda garnered the most votes for the District 4 seat in Yuma with 3,779 votes; and write-in candidate Maria Chavoya garnered the most votes for the District 5 position in Yuma at 50 votes.
The District 1 governing board spot in La Paz County, currently held by board president Randy Hartless, was the only seat on the AWC board not up for re-election.
In Crane Elementary School District, the three open positions were won by Mary Garcia with 3,921 votes; Jim Colby with 3,761 votes; and Brenna Paulin with 3,450 votes.
Somerton Elementary School District's three positions were won by Leticia V. Yepez with 1,229 votes; Carlos Gonzalez with 946 votes; and Fernando Villegas with 692 votes. Shortly after the election, Gonzalez resigned his position after being accepted to a job in the district. Two positions on the Somerton board still need to be filled by appointment.
In Wellton Elementary School District, the three positions to be filled were won by Robin Rinehart with 436 votes; Mark A. Rivera with 351 votes; and David Rodriguez with 305 votes. Two additional spots still need to be filled by appointment.
Antelope Union High School District board's three positions were won by Danny Millner with 852 votes; Scott Ferris with 719 votes; and Chandra Mann with 660 votes.
The three board positions in Mohawk Valley Elementary School District were won by Carole Henry with 219 votes; Melissa Sharp with 218 votes; and Michaela Roth with 172 votes.
Tyree added that school districts that canceled their elections this year included Yuma Elementary District 1, Yuma Union High School District, Hyder Elementary District and Gadsden Elementary District 32.
He noted that in District 1, Maureen Irr and Joe Melchionne both applied and will fill two open spots, while a third vacant spot still needs to be filled by appointment.
In YUHSD, Tyree said, Linda Munk, Bruce Gwynn and Yira Hoffman all submitted applications and will fill the three open positions.
At Hyder, three available seats will be filled by Karen Reed, Ethel Fuller and Guadalupe Mayorquin, while two vacant spots at Gadsden will be filled by Tadeo De La Hoya and Rosa Varela.
For more information about how to fill the five vacant school board positions still available throughout Yuma County, call the School Superintendent's Office at 373-1006.
Letters of interest are being accepted by 5 p.m. Friday. Candidates will be interviewed during the week of Dec. 3, and Tyree hopes to swear in the new board members during the week of Dec. 10
Sarah Womer can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.