Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Challengers sweep out West Franklin incumbents

By BOBBY BURCH, Herald Staff Writer | 4/2/2013

More than half the West Franklin School board will soon be out the door.

With 10 candidates vying for four open seats on the board, all four incumbents on the ballot were defeated during Tuesday’s vote in Franklin County’s most highly contested election, though vote totals are unofficial until Monday’s canvassing, Franklin County Clerk Janet Paddock said.

Jackie Robbins thwarted fellow Pomona resident and board incumbent Stacia Spencer by snagging 556 of the 826 total votes.

Carol Scott Hamilton defeated incumbent Stacy Hower with a 455-385 vote.

Newcomer Daniel Arnett defeated both incumbent Sherry Harris and Carrie Lira with 394 of the 854 total votes. Harris garnered 343 ballots of support while Lira earned 117 votes.

Matt Froggatte triumphed over board president Thayne Bush and Bruce Rockhold by capturing 437 of the 859 total votes. Bush acquired 312 votes and Rockhold earned 110.

Regardless of the school board’s new composition after the defeat of four incumbents, the incoming board members — whose opposition to a $14.3-million bond issue to fund a consolidation project at West Franklin was a key part of their campaigns — cannot stop a June 4 bond election, Dotson Bradbury, West Franklin schools superintendent, said previously.

“While the [school board] election is held in April, new board members do not officially take office until the first school board meeting, which would be the second Monday in July,” Bradbury said. “The bond election is in June, so whatever action the voters take — whether to approve a bond issue or not to approve a bond issue — that measure would stand. ... They could not overturn what the voters have decided.”

If approved, the bond would help finance an estimated $16-million project to improve West Franklin’s middle and high schools and provide a centralized campus for all district schools. If the bond is passed, the district would commit about $1.7 million in remaining costs using existing capital improvement funds, Bradbury said.

The bond offer would budget for classroom additions, renovations of existing buildings, a new gym, weight room, vocational/agricultural education, a wood shop building, an eight-lane competition track and parking lot improvements, according to West Franklin’s website. The improvements also would connect the campus buildings.

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