The closest race in last week's municipal election is finally settled.
After final votes were counted for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Seat F race, incumbent Deborah Germano emerged as the undisputed victor. The race, which had been too close to call following election day polling, ended with Germano taking 3,579 votes to challenger Gene Dyson's 3,541.
After losing his fourth attempt at a school board seat, Dyson said he was pleased with having come within 38 votes this time.
"I feel pretty good," he said. "I thought it was a good run. I'd like to thank all the people that did vote for me and wish Debbie well. It's just too bad it wasn't horseshoes, where close is enough."
He said he had mixed emotions, however, about making a fifth run at a school board seat.
"I'm not a quitter," Dyson said. "But after four times? If it comes up I will. But we'll have to see."
He said there is a lesson borough residents can learn from this election.
"It's something to think about, though," he said. "Between me and (Linda) Reynolds was 64 percent of the votes. It's like a mandate that people want a change in the school board."
Germano said she was happy to be returning to business as usual.
"I'm glad its over," Germano said. "It's been a long week. It's time to get back to work."
She said regardless of the outcome, she was going to continue to support the school district one way or another.
"Now I have some direction," she said. "I wouldn't have given up on the issues at hand, I just would've had to approach them from a different angle."
When the board next meets, Germano faces contending with three bargaining units -- the teachers association, the education support association and the building administrators. She will have to deal with getting funding for her education agendas.
"We've tried to make education a priority statewide and get the money for it," she said. "I came to this campaign with people campaigning about lowering (pupil-to-teacher ratio) and recruiting more teachers. The big questions is, how do we fund these things?"
Germano said she wants to finish what she started before the elections. She said she worked to make state legislators accountable for programs addressing such issues as class size and teacher recruitment.
"Now let's fund the programs so we can educate the children."
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