Incumbent trustees were ousted in two of Idaho’s three largest school districts Tuesday.
And on a day when voters approved at least $18.6 million in bond issues and levies, the biggest proposal of the night went down to another razor-thin defeat. For the third time, voters in Eastern Idaho’s Bonneville School District turned down a bond issue to build a new high school.
Here is the rundown from Tuesday’s school elections:
School Board races
West Ada: Physician Julie Madsen defeated Anne Ritter, a 13-year school board incumbent, collecting nearly 58 percent of the vote. Russell Joki, a retired superintendent who has taken the state and the West Ada district to court over student fees, collected 36 percent of the vote to win a four-way open race. Fourteen-year trustee Mike Vuittonet was re-elected with 57 percent of the vote.
Nampa: Two incumbent trustees were unseated in elections that focused somewhat on the district’s past financial crises. Mandy Simpson, a former president of the Nampa Education Association, won a three-way race, ousting incumbent Joca Veloz. Janelle Stauffer won another three-way race, defeating incumbent Daren Coon in the process.
Caldwell: Three school board elections were decided by four votes apiece. Teacher and former legislative candidate Travis Manning ousted incumbent Sandra Dodson, while Thomas Briten and Charles Stout were narrowly re-elected.
Gooding: Incumbents Tim Pierson and Jim Brockman and newcomer Randy Basterrechea were elected to the school board (full story from the Twin Falls Times-News). Basterrechea was one of three candidates who received campaign training from the Idaho Education Association, the Times-News reported last week.
Lake Pend Oreille: An incumbent and a newcomer easily defeated two no-show candidates for trustee positions. Joel Molander earned a second term (424 votes) representing Zone 1 that encompasses Clark Fork and Hope by defeating Kathleen Rose (180 votes). Geraldine Lewis defeated Tom Cleveland (448-139) in Zone 4, which is in the Sagle area. Rose and Cleveland, both active in Tea Party politics, failed to return calls or emails from reporters prior to the election, didn’t turn in candidate questionnaires from local papers and websites and chose not to be interviewed on a local radio show.
Coeur d’Alene: Tambra Pickford defeated incumbent Coeur d’Alene School District Trustee Terri Seymour 418 votes to 389. Voter turnout was 8 percent. Pickford has three daughters in the school district. She graduated from Fresno State University in California with a degree in education. Seymour had been on the board for four years. The complexion of this race changed in late March when Alicia Troye dropped out and threw her support to Pickford to make it a two-person race. Seymour received the endorsement of the Balance North Idaho Political Action Committee.
West Bonner County (Priest River): It’s a tie. Samuel “Ranger Rick” Hall and Lisa Ewing each received 37 votes in the Zone 5 race for the West Bonner County School District trustee race. It was unclear how the tie will be broken. Calls to the school district office weren’t returned.
North Idaho reporter David Keyes contributed to this report.
Bond issues and levies
Bonneville: More than 66 percent of voters said yes to a $56.1 million high school Tuesday night. But the proposal fell just shy of the two-thirds supermajority needed to pass a school bond. In all, 6,673 voters said yes, a 66.19 majority, while 3,408 voters said no.
It is the third time since 2014 that Bonneville voters have rejected a bond issue.
Notus: School officials got the go-ahead to replace an 89-year-old elementary school, as patrons gave a $4.8 million bond issue a 70 percent supermajority. Another school bond issue had failed in November.
Preston: A five-year, $4.5 million plant facilities levy passed with 72 percent backing, the Idaho State Journal reported. The vote was 398-155.
Emmett: Patrons approved a two-year, $2.8 million supplemental levy, with a 63 percent majority.
Sugar-Salem: A two-year, $900,000 supplemental levy barely received the simple majority required to pass. The tally was 275 in favor, 271 opposed.
Whitepine: A one-year, $850,000 supplemental levy passed with 60 percent support.
Marsing: Voters approved a two-year, $800,000 supplemental levy. It was the first supplemental levy sought by the district since at least 1974, the Owyhee Avalanche reported.
Ririe: A two-year, $770,000 supplemental levy passed with 71 percent support, the Post Register reported.
Parma: A two-year, $700,000 supplemental levy passed with 79 percent support.
Horseshoe Bend: This time around, a two-year, $600,000 supplemental levy passed with 70 percent support, KIVI TV reported. An identical levy narrowly failed in March.
Salmon River: Voters approved a one-year, $545,000 supplemental levy with 75 percent support.
Nezperce: A one-year, $475,000 supplemental levy passed with a 66 percent majority, the Lewiston Tribune reported.
Cottonwood: A one-year, $350,000 supplemental levy passed with 71 percent backing.
Butte County: Voters approved a one-year, $330,000 school bond extension with an 82 percent supermajority, according to the Post Register.
Kamiah: A one-year, $325,000 supplemental levy went down to an overwhelming defeat, receiving just 30 percent support.
South Lemhi: A 10-year, $200,000 plant facilities levy received a 93 percent landslide, the Post Register reported.
North Gem-Grace consolidation: Patrons in the two Southeast Idaho districts rejected a proposal to combine the districts, the Idaho State Journal reported.