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Sat, Dec. 07

Several local school boards cancel elections - not Chino's

Special to the Review

Although canceling a school board election doesn't let voters vote for write-in candidates to fill open seats, it does save them money.

Several local school boards, including those at the Prescott Unified School District and the Yavapai College District, have followed the Yavapai County Education Service Agency's recommendation and canceled their uncontested elections or elections with fewer candidates than open seats.

Karen McCracken, administrative assistant at the ESA, said Wednesday that the ESA has asked all school boards with uncontested races or races with fewer candidates than seats to cancel the elections.

If she doesn't hear back from representatives of each of the school boards, she will include their board on a list she forwards to the County Board of Supervisors for the possible approval of election cancellation at its Sept. 5 meeting.

Districts must pay 25 cents per voter to have an election. Therefore, according to McCracken's registered voter numbers from March, not having an election will save PUSD about $7,867. It will save Yavapai College precinct one $5,897, precinct two $5,780 and precinct three $3,821.

Incumbents Joan Fleming and Andy Newton are running for the two open seats on the PUSD board, and recent appointees Patricia McCarver, Dale Fitzner and Ray Sigafoos are running for three open seats on the Yavapai College District Governing Board.

The Humboldt Unified School District, which also canceled its election, will save about $4,865. Appointee Bruce Jaeger is running for the open two-year term and incumbent Gary Marks will run for one of the two open four-year terms.

Neither Mayer Unified School District nor Chino Valley Unified School District will cancel their governing board elections because more candidates are running than positions are open.

PUSD Board President Joan Fleming said Wednesday that although she likes the idea of saving money, she doesn't agree with the law that allows school districts to cancel elections - it doesn't apply to any other governing bodies.

"Why they're singling out school boards," she said, "I don't know."

Further, the law doesn't allow time for any write-in candidates and, she said, "It's nice to be elected rather than appointed."

Fleming said she's talked with fellow members of the Arizona School Boards Association and members of that association's legislative committee to work on finding ways to change the law.

"I understand the rationale," she said, "but why are we the only elected officials that aren't on the ballot?"

Contact the reporter at hdartt@prescottaz.com

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