Originally Published: November 6, 2018 11:48 p.m.
The Prescott Unified School District Governing Board will have a new complexion come January.
On Tuesday night, Nov. 6, two female retired educators were elected to replace the city’s mayor and a six-year board veteran and retired educator who opted not to seek re-election for the four-year terms.
The three-way race was relatively close between all three candidates, but the top vote-getter with 10,546 votes, or 35.47 percent was retired educator Deb Dillon, who just prior to the announcement of election results was at the school board meeting.
At the meeting, board members voted unanimously to approve the administration spending upwards of $2 million for a new Prescott High School track and artificial turf field complex.
Dillon, 67, is a retired educator who moved to Prescott six years ago. She has been a regular face at many district meetings and events to take over one of the vacant positions. City Mayor Greg Mengarelli opted against seeking re-election as did his board colleague Maureen Erickson.
In a tight race of only a few hundred votes, candidate Connie Donovan, 69, also a retired educator who worked for a time in Prescott, edged out 14-year resident and information technology executive Dave Klever for the second seat. Donovan won 9,816 votes, or 33.01 percent, to Klever’s 9,242 votes, or 31.08 percent of the vote.
While Dillon said she is pleased to be given the opportunity to “serve the people of Prescott, especially the kids of Prescott,” she admitted to some mixed feelings about the results. She campaigned with Klever and was sorry to see him lose by such a slight margin.
In her estimation, Dillon said, Klever did more for the district prior to this election than either she or Donovan. Klever was involved in passing the 2015 PUSD $15 million bond referendum and $6 million override used to increase all district salaries.
On the up side, Dillon said she was confident from the start that all three candidates are well-suited for the job, all champions for local education and local educators.
“That’s been a plus,” Dillon said.
At home with her husband, Brian, and their dog, Donovan said she is delighted with the chance to “do something to give back to the profession I love.”
She said she welcomes the chance to work alongside fellow board colleagues to do right by this community’s children, its teachers and staff and ensure education remains a top priority for all.
“I’m delighted about the whole thing,” she said of winning her first elected office.
CHINO VALLEY RE-ELECTS INCUMBENTS
In Chino Valley, the two incumbent Governing Board District leaders, president Penny Hubble and vice president Cyndi Thomas were both re-elected to four-year terms. Their challenger Paul Hurley ran a close race, but ended up with only 26.27 percent of the 9,478 votes cast. He could not be reached for comment before press time Tuesday night.
Hubble, who was just finishing up with the town’s National Night Out event, said she is “flattered,” “honored” and “excited” to be elected to serve her community for another four years. Hubble was the top vote-getter with 4,041 votes, or 42.64 percent.
“Elections are something I never take for granted,” said Hubble, the owner of a local insurance company. “It always feels good to think that what you’re doing is making a difference.”
Thomas expressed similar sentiments.
“First of all, I want to thank voters for having faith in me for another four years,” Thomas said. “And I’m looking forward to the next four years. The past four have been very encouraging.
“Our school district has great administration and we are very able as a board to help facilitate our schools continued achievements.”
Chino Valley High School now has a higher graduation rate than the state average, “and that is pretty phenomenal,” said Thomas, a fourth-generation Arizonan and long-time civic leader. “And I just really look forward to continued success for our school district.”
Follow Nanci Hutson on Twitter @HutsonNanci. Reach her at 928-445-3333 ext. 2041.