School board voters opt for a clean sweep
On a night when the Farmington School Board was guaranteed at least two new members, voters opted instead for a clean sweep.
Newcomers Tera Lee, Brian Treakle and Melissa Sauser all won seats on the board in Tuesday's election. Veronica Walter, the only incumbent who defended her seat, finished fourth in balloting.
Lee was the top finisher with 4,565 votes. Treakle had 4,187 votes, Sauser 3,643 and Walter 3,245. Ron Groves was a distant fifth with 2,420 votes, Rebecca Keeler was sixth with 2,173 and Carol Kappes was seventh with 1,893.
Lee and Treakle were both endorsed by the district's teachers, as was Walter.
The three winners, ran a friendly campaign. Sauser is in MOMS Club with Treakle's wife, and Treakle got to know Lee last summer over conversations at soccer games. They chatted about the best place to buy election signs and all three celebrated together Tuesday night.
They said they were cautiously optimistic going into Tuesday about their chances to win. But it wasn't until late Tuesday that they felt comfortable enough to pop open some champagne and celebrate.
"I knew it was going to be a tight race between the top four of us," Sauser said.
Lee, a vocal presence in the district since early this summer as an advocate for lower class sizes, said it was gratifying to see her hard work amount to something.
"It's really nice to have it pay off," she said. "It was a lot of hard work. You feel like you're really making a difference."
There's still plenty of hard work ahead, of course. All three said they will jump into preparations for January, when they will take office. Treakle said he'll pay special attention to the district's finances, because he will take his seat as the district really starts to dig into the process of crafting its next budget.
All three have been vocal proponents of spending money on teachers rather than on administrators.
"I think we need to talk about keeping the money in the classroom, especially as we get less funding," Lee said.
Superintendent Brad Meeks announced last week that the district's enrollment was 125 students below projections, a difference that could mean about $640,000 less in state funding for the district.
Treakle said he's looking forward to getting to work.
"I came into this wanting to contribute, and I found something I can help fix," he said.