McKnight returned to school board; Burke and Singewald join herCurrent board chair Julie McKnight, the only incumbent in this year’s race, led all candidates with 6,504 votes in Tuesday’s election. She’ll be joined on the board next January by Tim Burke, who finished second with 6,313 votes, and Julie Singewald, who was third with 5,824.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
District 192 voters chose three school board members Tuesday. It will be up to the board to choose a fourth.
Current board chair Julie McKnight, the only incumbent in this year’s race, led all candidates with 6,504 votes in Tuesday’s election. She’ll be joined on the board next January by Tim Burke, who finished second with 6,313 votes, and Julie Singewald, who was third with 5,824.
But next year’s edition of the Farmington School Board is not set yet. Current board member Terry Donnelly won a seat on the Farmington City Council Tuesday and the board will have to find someone to serve the two years left on his term. The board voted last week to take applications for the position from the five remaining candidates who were on the ballot for the Sept. 9 primary election. Carol Kappes, who lost a spot on the general election ballot on a coin flip, said Tuesday she plans to apply for the spot. The Independent has not spoken to any of the other candidates about the position.
District 192 superintendent Brad Meeks said Tuesday there is no timeline yet for taking applications or appointing Donnelly’s replacement.
For now, then, candidates are focusing on what they know. The board will have the two new faces it was guaranteed when incumbents Tim Weyandt and Ann Manthey chose not to defend their positions. And each of the winners sees something different in the results.
McKnight called her win Tuesday an indication that residents saw through suggestions that the district was headed in the wrong direction and recognized progress she believes has taken place in recent years.
“The negative always gets the attention, so my concern is nobody is hearing the positive,” McKnight said. “My message is there is so much positive going on.”
McKnight said repeatedly during the campaign she wants to continue the progress she has seen take place since 2003.
Burke and Singewald, came away from Tuesday’s election promising change. Burke, a frequent and vocal critic of the district in recent years, said Tuesday night he already has some ideas for things he’d like to see the district do differently. His suggested changes include returning the district to a schedule of two business meetings each month — rather than a single business meeting and a workshop — and making sure all regular board meetings are carried on cable television. He also said he’d like to hold all board meetings at 7 p.m. Currently the board’s monthly business meeting is held at 7 p.m. but a monthly workshop, which has taken the place of that second business meeting, is held at 5 p.m.
“I’ve been making lists and notes of things I want to suggest straight away,” Burke said.
Burke and Singewald both promised a different tone to board meetings when they take office next January. They said there would be more questions asked regarding the recommendations that come from administrators.
“I think there’s going to be some challenge to the administration,” Burke said.
Singewald, who had been up for around 18 hours when the final precinct reported around 10 p.m. Tuesday, said she was excited to have gotten voters support and looking forward to serving on the board.
Singewald said she’d like to create more opportunities for residents to communicate with school board members. She said she enjoyed hearing from residents during her campaign.
“I think the thing I enjoyed the most was the number of people who — even if they knew I might have a different opinion — were taking the time to tell me what they thought,” she said.
Singewald, who said she had a big learning curve from the time she decided to run to Tuesday’s primary, expects to learn a lot more between now and January.
“I probably have just the tip of the iceberg I’m sure,” she said. “But I’m not afraid to ask questions.”
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