13.02-Percent Voter Turnout
Turnout was good, relatively speaking, for the school election held Tuesday in Palo Alto County. After polls closed at 8 p.m., it was determined that 13.02-percent of 7,870 registered voters, or 1,025 voters, cast ballots in the election– either at voting sites or by absentee ballot.
Contested races were featured in each of the county’s four school districts. The unofficial results show several incumbent school board members losing their seats to newcomers.
In the Emmetsburg Community School District, the seats of Laure Egland, Stephen Pelzer, Linda Mathis Tienter, and Don Hagen expired. Hagen chose not to run for re-election. With four seats vacant, Egland, Pelzer, and Tienter chose to run for re-election and six newcomers threw their hats in the ring: Rick Brennan, Johnny Hurley, Scott Kibbie, Scott Lowman, Kathleen Roethler, and B.J. Schany.
Winning the four seats are: Rick Brennan with 340 votes, Scott Kibbie with 248 votes, Kathleen Roethler with 228 votes, and B.J. Schany with 286 votes. Other votes went to: Laure Egland, 127 votes; Johnny Hurley, 74 votes; Scott Lowman, 107 votes; Stephen Pelzer, 150 votes; and Linda Mathis Tienter, 188 votes.
Incumbent board members of the Graettinger-Terril Community School District, Kevin Jensen and Roger Schmitt, were re-elected to their two seats. Challenger Heidi Skattebo also ran. Jensen earned 87 votes, Schmitt won 84 votes, and Skattebo received 42 votes.
Per a two-year reorganization agreement, the Graettinger-Terril school board is decreasing from seven members to five members. To fill the 2013 term, newcomer Matthew Hanson, a write-in candidate, received 10 votes. To fill the 2015 term, incumbent Galen Chicoine won 101 votes.
In the Ruthven-Ayrshire Community School District, two incumbent board members were unseated. The seats of Lisa Berkland, Ray Grandstaff, Matthew Graves, and Dave Forey expired. Dave Forey opted not to run for re-election and six newcomers filed petitions to run in the election: Larry Conlon, Joey Cother, Tracy Enderson, Regina Evans, Jordan Gray, and Katie Meyer.
Filling the four vacancies are: Larry Conlon with 116 votes, Tracy Enderson with 148 votes, Ray Grandstaff with 113 votes, and Katie Meyer with 118 votes. Other votes went to: Lisa Berkland, 98 votes; Joey Cother, 43 votes; Regina Evans, 19 votes; Matthew Graves, 81 votes; and Jordan Gray, 87 votes.
An unusual situation has developed on the Ruthven-Ayrshire board. Prior to Election Day, Larry Conlon decided to withdraw from the race, however, it was too late to have Conlon’s name removed from the ballot.
According to the Iowa Association of School Boards, if an individual elected can’t serve (due to death, decided didn’t want it, etc.), the board then declares that seat to be vacant at the organizational meeting. The position does not go to the next highest vote getter. The school board must follow the positions certified by the county board of supervisors.
In the West Bend-Mallard Community School District, five contenders competed for four seats on the school board. The seats of Jillian Hansen, Dawn Schmidt, Jessica Wickman, and Lannie Miller expired. Wickman and Miller chose not to seek re-election and three newcomers decided to run: Mark Collins, Heather Studer, and John Zaugg.
Claiming the four seats are: Mark Collins with 129 votes, Jillian Hansen with 156 votes, Dawn Schmidt with 160 votes, and John Zaugg with 156 votes. Other votes went to: Heather Studer, 104 votes.
Also, voters residing in Director District 1 of Iowa Lakes Community College (includes Graettinger) gave 62 votes to Arden Kinnander. Voters residing in Director District 2 of Iowa Lakes Community College (includes Terril) gave 27 votes to Janice Lund.
A public measure question also appeared on the ballot for voters of the West Bend-Mallard Community School District. The question involved the Public Education & Recreation Levy (PERL) for 13.5-cents. The measure passed with 116 ‘yes’ votes and 53 ‘no’ votes.
The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors will canvass these unofficial results from Tuesday’s election at 8 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 16.