Seat-holders stay put on school board

Posted: Wednesday, October 05, 2005

With three of nine seats on the ballot and five candidates campaigning, incumbents on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education held fast in Tuesday's election.

Changes will come, however, from the two board members — Margaret Gilman of Kenai and Deb Germano of Homer — who ran successful campaigns for the borough assembly. (See related story, this page.)

In the Seat 3 Nikiski area, with all four precincts reporting, voters supported Debra K. Mullins over Victoria E. Pate, 547 to 288, or 64.96 percent to 34.20 percent. This area encompasses Nikiski North Star Elementary School, Nikiski Middle Senior High School and Tebughna School.

Tuesday's election is not the first time these candidates have squared off. Pate ran against Mullins in the last election, taking 40 percent of the vote. And it won't be their last battle, according toPate.

"Absolutely I'll run again," she said. "I would say I'll run until I'm old and gray, but I'm already old and gray."

Mullins is out of state and was unavailable for comment Tuesday night.

John Nels Anderson ran uncontested for the Soldotna Seat 4. With three of three precincts reporting, Anderson received 859, or 96.41 percent of the vote. The Soldotna district includes the districtwide Connections Program, Kalifornsky Beach Elementary School, Soldotna Montessori School, Redoubt and Soldotna elementary schools, Soldotna High School and Soldotna Middle School.

"It's pretty hard to lose an uncontested election," he said, laughing.

Regarding the Nikiski race, he added, "I was pretty pleased that our Nikiski race turned out the way it did. I'm very pleased (Mullins) is back on the board."

Losing Gilman and Germano was bittersweet news to Anderson.

"They've both been wonderful," he said. "But they'll be wonderful advocates for schools on the borough assembly. I'm thrilled about them being there (on the assembly), but I'm not happy about having them gone (from the board)."

It was a close race in the Seat 7-Central area, with voters favoring Debbie Brown over Wayne Wong, 439 to 400 or 52.08 percent to 47.45 percent. This district includes Tustumena Elementary School, Ninilchik School and Nikolaevsk School.

"I am very pleased to be the apparent winner at this time," Brown said. "The school district has many challenges ahead of us and we'll need a lot of public input to work through the challenges coming up, but I'm very pleased and proud the people have selected me to serve and I will serve to the utmost of my ability on the school board."

This was Wong's first time to run for office, and, like Pate, he said it won't be his last.

"There's always tomorrow. I'll try again," he said. "And I want to thank the people that supported me and wish the best to Deb (Brown) for the next three years."

With Gilman and Germano winning their bids for the borough assembly, board President Sammy Crawford said she would be meeting with Donna Peterson, superintendent for the district, on Wednesday to begin the process to replace the two board members.

"I would assume we'll announce the vacancies and ask for people to apply for both of those districts," Crawford said. "And I wish there had been a better voter turnout. It always disappoints me when it's under 50 percent."

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