Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Campbell, other area school boards get fresh faces

By Karen Gutierrez
Enquirer staff writer

Voters made good Tuesday on a promise to shake up the Campbell County School Board.

Incumbents Carol Dunn and Steve Morris were defeated by Rich Mason and Susan Fangman. Only incumbent Gary Combs was returned to the board.

Mason, a retired art teacher at Campbell County High School, had received 1,903 votes to Dunn's 1,092 with 86 percent of votes tallied Tuesday night.

Mason said he rode a wave of dissatisfaction with the board and former superintendent Roger Brady, who left last year.

The unpopular moves including closing A.J. Jolly Elementary School and demoting its principal. Brady also abruptly removed four coaches at the high school.

"I'm not sure the board understood how upset a lot of people were," Mason said. "I felt like we might see a big change because of that."

As a board member, his first goal will be to make sure Campbell schools have adequate funding, Mason said. He plans to review the budget closely, including central-office costs.

Fangman, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, has been a parent member of the site-based council at Cline Elementary School. With 86 percent of votes tallied late Tuesday, she had received 2,541 votes to 1,539 for incumbent Morris.

An incumbent was also upset in a three-way race for the Bellevue School Board. Challenger Tracey Janson Norman was the top finisher with 1,407 votes, compared with 1,041 for incumbent Joe "Bones" Egan.

Incumbent Jerry Gullet, who received 927 votes, lost his seat.

Elsewhere in the Northern Kentucky suburbs, incumbents were returned to school board seats in Boone, Walton-Verona and Beechwood.

The Erlanger-Elsmere School District had the unusual situation of no incumbents in a three-way race for two seats. The winners were Sandy Barnes, with 3,447 votes, and David Bird with 2,836. Anne Lunn came in third with 1,789.

In Fort Thomas, incumbent Nancy Johnson Baker was returned to the board. The other open seat went to Karen Allen, a parent who has served on many district committees. Both women had supported an 11 percent tax increase last year to pay for teacher raises. A third candidate for the Fort Thomas School Board, Jim Kidney, ran on an anti-tax platform.

With 93 percent of votes tallied, Allen was the top vote getter with 4,560. Baker received 4,238 votes and Kidney 3,097.

"I've shown that I'm really dedicated to the school system, and I think people understood that," Allen said. "I'm very excited to serve."

Her top issue, she said, will be funding a renovation of Highlands High School, which has strong test scores but no air conditioning and no elevator for handicapped accessibility.

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