AFTON — East Union School Board incumbents Sarah Long and Randy Wuebker were defeated at the polls Tuesday.
Long, current board president, ran against Mike Rollings for District 2 and was defeated on a vote of 74 to 32. Wuebker was defeated by Rex Kelly for District 4 on a vote of 39 to 8. Kenneth Hagen ran unopposed for District 5 and received 17 votes.
“I’m glad I won,” said Rollings, a former board member from 1994 to 2006. “I think it shows how unhappy the patrons in District 2 were with the present school board because I won by 75 percent of the vote. ... It just shows me the way the people in the community feel about how the school is being run.”
Wuebker was voted onto the board in September 2012, when Lois Munden resigned.
“One of those things that just happens. Rex will be really good on the board, and I’m not really upset about losing to him,” said Wuebker. “He’ll be a good representative, I believe. I mean, I wish I could have stayed on, but I’m not real upset about losing to him.”
Wuebker went on to say he believed the school board will be slightly shaken up with the newcomers.
“I believe there’s going to be changes in store with the new members in there,” Wuebker said. “What the changes are, I don’t know. I just perceive them getting shaken up a little bit and different things happening.”
Kelly has no previous experience with East Union School Board.
“I really had no desire to run, but enough people voiced their concerns that we needed different board members on the school board, and there were enough people that asked me, and I guess I just did it,” said Kelly.”I was shocked at the percentage of the votes I got. It was kind of overhwelming that, that many votes came in for me, and it makes me feel the community has faith in me and believes in what I believe in. And, it’s for the good of the students, the school and the community.”
Kelly said the board is there for the students, and he wants to improve communication between students and faculty with the help of the community.
“It’s all about the students. There’s a disconnection between the faculty and the students, and we’re hoping to get more harmony in our school district,” said Kelly. “I feel as many people (who) asked me to run and voted for me, they will come to me and talk to me, and hopefully I will convince them what the board does for the community. It will get more community involvement with the school board meetings.”
The new board members already have an idea of what they want to bring to the table.
“I do have a little experience. But, I’m going to listen, and I’m going to learn, and, hopefully, I’m going to have decent input,” Rollings said.
Rollings said he wants to focus on the district’s finances because of the district’s tax history.
“I wanted to have some say about how the tax money is spent, and make sure the tax money is spent wisely,” said Rollings.
Wuebker said there was a school board meeting in the spring when the school’s budget was discussed. There was a focus on the property taxes increasing, first after a bond was issued to pay for the new elementary school building, and second for security measures added to the high school building to make both buildings similar.
“It was already kind of in the plans to redo the doors and security anyways, and mainly on the high school side to match the elementary,” said Wuebker. “We’re trying to simplify everything, ... and then, in December, we decided to really step up.”
Wuebker said the budget was “maxed out” after the decision to build the elementary school building.
“With the addition of the new security and safety measures, we needed a little bit more money to get started here, to get things done up front,” said Wuebker.
However, a number of people were upset with the school board’s decision to increase property taxes.
“I want more public input in the school board meetings,” Rollings said. “I want the public forum back ... so people can come voice their opinion.”