Archive for Thursday, April 7, 2005

Newcomers elected to board

April 7, 2005

Voters in the Lansing School District selected three new school board members and allowed a recently appointed member to retain her seat.

Top vote getters in the election were Beth Stevenson with 1,732 votes, Gary Courtney with 1,373 votes and Rob Nicholas with 1,337 votes. The three defeated incumbent Stuart Lyon, who received 1,130 votes and Mike Nielsen, 810 votes.

Voters decided to retain Karalin Alsdurf who will fill out the final two years of the unexpired term of Michelle Fattig-Smith. Alsdurf was appointed to the seat in August when Fattig-Smith moved out of the district.

School Board President Shelly Gowdy said she thought all of the candidates were qualified and forward-looking. She said there would always be turnover on the board, but she thought the new members would bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the table.

But most of all, she said, they are all committed to the board's purpose.

"All of the candidates desire to set policy and let the building administrators do their jobs," she said. "Everyone that's running has a passion for education and kids."

Alsdurf said now that the bond issue had passed, the board could continue to work on other projects that have been on the backburner. She called faculty negotiations "the next big item on our plate," and said the board would continue discussions about an exchange program with China and continue to plan for the district's future, particularly in relation to faculty retirement.

She said she would decide whether to run for a full term in 2007 nearer to that time.

Stevenson was quiet Tuesday night when the elections were over. She said she was excited about winning her spot on the board but more excited that the school bond issue passed.

"It went by a much larger margin that I thought it would," she said.

Nicholas said Tuesday while the votes were being tallied that he didn't feel nervous because by that time, it was out of his hands.

"I voted this morning. That's about all I could do to help myself at this point," he said.

After he secured the board position, he said Wednesday he would be researching the issues that the board is working on so that he would be up to speed when he takes his position in July.

Lyon is out of the country on a business trip, but his wife, Judy Lyon, said she was disappointed for him.

"Stuart has derived a great deal of satisfaction from serving on the school board," she said.

However, she said the passage of the school bond was good news.

"He has worked very hard for the school bond, so I'm sure he will be happy about that," she said.

Courtney and Nielsen did not return phone calls Wednesday.

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