After polls closed Tuesday, it appeared each incumbent on the Juneau School Board would be re-elected for another term. However, about 1,500 absentee and questioned votes will be counted Friday.
Unofficially, school board member Andrea "Andi" Story was the leading vote-getter for the three seats up for grabs with 3,216 votes, followed by School Board President Mark Choate and Phyllis Carlson with 3,076 and 2,470 votes, respectively. Bill Peters ended Tuesday evening with 2,109 votes, while Mary Marks finished with 1,541 votes.
Story said she appreciates the support of her family and the community involvement within the schools.
"It's one of the reasons I wanted to run again, because education has such a valuable place in Juneau," she said. "We're going to be looking at our literacy programs because reading is the core skill you have to have to be good in other subjects."
Story also said she is grateful that Proposition 1 passed, saying Gastineau Elementary was in much need of an upgrade. Story, who has served two terms already, also said she is grateful to the community for electing her a third time.
"We're working hard and trying to be responsive to the city's concerns, and I will continue to do that and appreciate the support."
Choate, who unofficially finished second, said he believes the results were strong in his favor because he has always been able to ask hard questions in order to create great schools in Juneau.
"People get so comfortable with the status quo, that even when it's costing a lot of money, we just support it because it's comfortable," Choate said. "We have to get out of our comfort zones if we're going to start producing world-class schools, and we need that so this community will be a place people will want to go because we have great schools."
In terms of the economic climate, Choate said they have experienced issues with budget shortfalls, so correcting that is paramount.
"Getting our new budget process going immediately is very critical so we can be more effective in terms of where we are spending money well, and where we are not spending money well," he said.
Carlson and Marks were unavailable for comment, but Peters said via e-mail he has confidence that the top three will do a great job for the community.
"While I would have been pleased to serve Juneau again on the School Board, I know that Mark, Andi and Phyllis will work hard for Juneau's students," he said.
The third seat is still undecided, however. The unofficial results show Carlson 362 votes ahead of Peters. Results could change Friday once absentee and questioned ballots are tallied.
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