By Mary Spicer
Based on Tuesday night’s unofficial count, there may be a three-way race for two seats on Conneaut School Board in Region 2, which roughly coincides geographically the district’s former Conneaut Valley attendance area.
Official tabulation begins Friday; official results may be available as soon as five business days after the counting begins.
Newcomer Dot Luckock won nominations on both the Republican and Democratic slates, having unofficially received 225 Republican and 151 Democratic votes, making her the top vote-getter in both parties.
A former member of Conneautville Borough Council with more than three decades in the feed mill business, Luckock is running for her first term on the school board, although she was appointed to serve on a budget committee established by the board to explore the possibility, and advisability, of consolidation.
“I’m very pleased with how today turned out,” Luckock told the Tribune Tuesday night. “I’m looking forward to this opportunity to become more involved in all the important decisions that are involved in the school board.”
Former school board member John Burnham appears to have received the second Republican nod with 139 votes. On the Republican side, former school board member Cheryl Krachkowski received 114 votes and incumbent Carol Bocan received 105.
Burnham, who served two consecutive four-year terms on the board between 1999 and 2007, is seeking a return because he’s concerned about the consolidation of the district’s three high schools, Conneaut Lake, Conneaut Valley and Linesville, into one — Conneaut Area Senior High. “I opposed consolidation,” Burnham said. “I question whether it’s saved money.”
Because Tuesday’s results do not include absentee ballots, the race for the second Democratic nod is too close to call based on unofficial results. Carol Bocan unofficially came out in second place with 97 votes; however, Krachkowski finished with 96 and Burnham came in a very close third with 95.
“It really should make people sit up and take notice as to how much on these local elections a few votes can matter,” Burnham said. “People should really get out and support their candidates on these local elections. I’m certainly thankful for those people who have supported me.”
Bocan is seeking her seventh consecutive four-year term on the board. Since losing the battle to retain three separate attendance areas in the district, Bocan says she is focusing her sights on increasing cost effectiveness without sacrificing the quality of education in the district. “I really believe that the future is in our youth,” she said Tuesday night. “We’ve got to have enough funding. We have so many unfunded mandates, and this is what we need to look at. Our legislators need to understand what is going on in the schools today.”
Krachkowski served two years on the board before she was forced to resign because she had inadvertently moved out of the region she represented. Krachkowski has stressed that accountability — both financial and educational — is especially important after the three high schools consolidated into one.
Each of Pennsylvania’s 500 school board has nine members with each member elected to serve a four-year term. The terms of four members of each board are up for election in 2013; holders of the remaining five seats will be decided in 2015.
A vast majority of area school boards are elected at large, with the occupants of all nine seats elected by residents of the entire district to serve the entire school district. Conneaut School District, however, is divided into three electoral regions, with each region responsible for electing three of the board’s nine members. At one time, each election region roughly conformed with the boundary lines of one of the three attendance areas. However, instead of three elementary and three middle-high schools, the district now consists of two elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school.
In the district’s former Conneaut Valley attendance area, also known as Region 2, two seats are up for election in 2013; with Luckock unofficially capturing two party nominations and Burnham one, the final place on the Democratic line on November’s ballot will be decided with the final count.
Mary Spicer can be reached at 7624-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.