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Election 2011: Ellicott voters oust incumbents, OK bond

By: CAROL MCGRAW
October 31, 2011
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photo - Candidate Cody Chambers Photo by CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE
Candidate Cody Chambers Photo by CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE 

Voters in rural Ellicott School District 22 responded to two years of turmoil, including a school board member’s sex scandal, by getting rid of three incumbents and at the same time approving a $2.3 million bond measure, according to unofficial election results.

Gary Lake, who had two years left on the board, was recalled. Dwight Hobbs, the only successor candidate, will take his place.

Stefanie Dickinson, accused of sending explicit text messages to a youth and of having sex with a student, was also recalled. She had resigned, but state law required her name to remain on the ballot so voters could pick a successor. There were 186 votes to retain her.

Taking her place on the board will  be Cody Chambers.

In the regular race, Ernest Hudson and MaryAnna Clemons were chosen for the board. Both had been active in two recalls to oust incumbents.

Incumbent Todd Schainost lost his seat.

Hudson said, “We want to heal the community and  improve the education of students so they can be better prepared for adult life.”  

Clemons echoed that. “We hope to improve the morale of the community, the test scores of the students and the job satisfaction of the teachers.”

They were excited about the passage of the bond measure. ‘We really need the new building.

It’s a good deal,” Clemons said.

The recall petitioners had argued that the board members had shown poor fiscal oversight, failed to improve student performance, did not address a teacher retention problem and lacked transparency in conducting board business.

The $2.3 million bond will enable the district to receive a $15.8 million state BEST construction grant to create a 75,000- square-foot green building to house a new middle school, preschool and administration offices, replacing a 60-year-old facility with deteriorating walls, flood, crossed classrooms failing sewer system and crumbling foundation. Repairing it would have cost more than replacement.

For election results from other school districts, click here.

 

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