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5:27 PM Tue, Nov. 20th

Hicks, Seeley elected to Prescott Unified School District governing board; 3rd seat too close to call

Prescott voters elected Scott Hicks and Tina Seeley to the Prescott Unified School District Governing Board, but the third seat was too close to call at press time Tuesday night.

According to unofficial election results as of 11:30 p.m., Hicks led with 11,266 votes or 24.13 percent, Seeley received 8,616 votes or 18.45 percent, and John Mackin led Dee Navarro by only nine votes, with results from 23 of 30 vote centers in.

"I'm looking forward to opening up new avenues of learning for students with new programs and opportunities," Hicks said.

Seeley said she looks forward to continuing to work on the board's and district's goals, mission statement and values that include collaborating with families and communities to educate students by providing a safe and engaging learning environment while preparing students for tomorrow's challenges and opportunities.

Dave Smucker, PUSD superintendent, said he had the opportunity to visit with all of the candidates.

"They are all very capable leaders who have the best interests of children and will continue to support the direction of the district," Smucker said.

In the next year, Hicks said he'll be "learning more about the budget and finding ways to get the most out of what we get for the schools."

"Now that the Arizona state legislature has balanced the budget, we need to talk to them about reinstating some of the funding they cut from schools for building maintenance and other items," he said.

"It looks like the district will deal with declining enrollment again this year, and face more budget cuts," Seeley said.

Smucker said current board members have led and supported the district's focus on student success, and he believes new board members "will continue to focus on preparing our students with the skills and knowledge that will support their success in the future."

Arizona voters soundly defeated Proposition 204 by a 2-to-1 margin. The measure would have permanently increased the state sales tax by 1 cent per dollar for the purpose of funding educational programs, public transportation infrastructure projects, and human services.

"What that tells us is that a temporary tax is just that," Hicks said. "We need to work with our legislators on the way the state funds our schools and they need to be held accountable."

The proposition would have forbidden reductions to current K-12 and university funding levels and reductions to the current state sales tax base.

People in education had been hoping Prop. 204 would pass to free up some money for teachers', students' and schools' needs, Seeley said.

"Now it's back to the status quo," Seeley said. "If 204 had passed we may not have been looking at a bond or override this year; now we may be looking at a bond."