High school senior Daniel Peterson won a vote of confidence Tuesday, garnering the highest tally among four announced candidates for three seats on the Juneau School Board.
Voters also returned nine-year incumbent Alan Schorr and one-year incumbent Chuck Cohen to the school board. Announced write-in candidate John Greeley, a retired teacher, trailed the others by a wide margin.
Several hundred questioned and absentee ballots remain to be counted, but the margins are decisive, with 6,020 votes for Peterson, 5,904 for Schorr, 5,900 for Cohen, and 1,086 write-ins.
But the totals also show that not every voter chose someone for the three open seats. Out of 10,522 voters counted by Tuesday, there could have been 31,566 votes for school board candidates, but there were only 18,910.
"It looks like it's working out pretty well," Peterson said as early vote counts were displayed at the Juneau-Douglas High School commons Tuesday night.
Cohen congratulated Peterson and told him he just bought himself a lot of meetings.
Although the schools are in the midst of a standards and accountability movement, and the school district faces a tight budget, candidates said the election was quiet and they spent little money.
Peterson said he raised about $650 and spent $300 on a newspaper ad. He campaigned mainly through the free media of news interviews and candidate forums.
"A lot of it was just word of mouth and grass-roots support," he said. "I've gotten a lot more exposure than the other candidates just the novelty of a student running."
"He's been into politics since he was about that high," said Daniel's proud father, Mark Peterson, as he held a hand a few feet off the ground.
Mark Peterson, watching Daniel handle media interviews Tuesday night, said his son learns quickly and understands the implications of decisions. "I think he'll challenge a lot of the people on the school board pretty quickly."
Schorr said he spent about $500 on newspaper ads, campaigned at a mall and attended forums. Cohen, who was elected last year to finish the term of a member who resigned, said he raised and spent nothing.
Schorr ran on a platform of supporting rigorous standards at each grade, ending social promotion and lobbying the Legislature for funds to help build a second high school.
Cohen said the voters he spoke to were concerned about standards and how to help students who aren't meeting them, the recent Pledge of Allegiance controversy, and how to alleviate crowding at JDHS until a second high school is built.
Greeley could not be reached for comment this morning.
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