Voters in the Huron Valley School District tapped Bonnie Brown and Jeffrey Long for two four-year terms on the Board of Education during the Tuesday, Nov. 8 general election.
Eight challengers faced off against incumbent Brown, who was elected by taking 23 percent (1,976) of the total votes.
“The reason I ran after being appointed initially was that I love what I’m doing and kids have always been my life,” Brown said. “I wanted to run and hold this seat if the community wanted me there, so I’m glad that’s how it turned out.”
Of the eight challengers in the election race, Long earned the most votes. He received the second most votes in the race, capturing 20 percent (1,722) of the total.
Long has two children attending Oak Valley Middle School. He has been an active member in the district, sitting on the middle school Creating Curriculum Driven Facilities Committee and helping with fund-raising. Long has also been an active Cub Scout leader and athletic coach.
“He (Long) has attended a lot of board meetings and is familiar with the issues and has a firm grasp of the topics,” said School Board President Sean Carlson. “We will be welcoming Jeff with open arms and will be looking for his new perspective and fresh ideas.”
“I’ve lived in the community most of my life and am thankful for the support,” Long said. “I’m glad to be a part of what I hope to be a continuing achievement and consistent improvement.”
Falling short were Kim Galbraith, who earned 15.04 percent (1,313) of the votes; Joe Ghislain, 14.77 percent (1,289); Karen Wallis, 11.16 percent (974); Russ Krawczyk, 6.64 percent (580); Kevin Lawrence, 3.79 percent (331); Xuan Avallone, 3.24 percent (283); and Robert Artinian, 2.77 percent (242).
“Nine community members answered the call and we’re very pleased with that,” Carlson noted. “As a board member, there are always a lot of tough decisions, so for nine to raise their hands and step out, that’s encouraging. We want to thank everyone who ran so people were given choices and options.”
Long-standing board member John Knight opted not to seek re-election after serving the community for 20 years. He will vacate his school board seat on Dec. 31.
Brown was appointed to complete Debbie Squire’s unexpired term in 2010. This will be Brown’s first full term of office.
“From a board perspective. one of the most difficult jobs is when someone steps down and the rules dictate that we must appoint an individual which inherently belongs to the people,” Carlson said. “We’ve had to do this for the last two years, once in 2009 when Lindsey Cotter was appointed, which was validated by the voters, and then in 2010 when we appointed Bonnie. Now that decision has again been validated by the voters.”
In December 2010 the school board approved a resolution to revise the election cycle for the district from odd-year to an even-year election cycle, to align with state and national election cycles.
To transition to the even year cycle, both Brown and Long will have their terms extended by one year to align with the even-year cycle, so although the November 2011 ballot stated elected board members would serve four-year terms, the Board of Education will now take action to extend the terms for one year in order to effectuate the policy change that was approved on Dec. 16, 2010.
Board members receive $30 per meeting for up to 52 meetings per year and receive reimbursement for board-related travel including training and expenses.