The magnitude of the four Rockford Public School District school board seats was only magnified by the recent cuts to the school district.
Additionally, three of the races had incumbents were up for re-election. The lone, uncontested candidate was current school board member Bob Evans in Subdistrict E.
After tonight, the voters decided that three new faces will be sitting in seats formerly held by incumbent or outgoing board members at 201 S. Madison Street.
In the Subdistrict B race, lawyer Tim Rollins won handily over incumbent Jeanne Westholder, garnering 69% of the vote. Rollins says the day the new members are sworn in, can't come soon enough.
"We really need to hit the ground running," said Rollins. "There are a lot of things that need to be done. I want to see us immediately move to implement some of the things that I've been talking about, getting the community more involved."
For Westholder, the four years spent on the board came along with a tumultuous change in leadership, serving under three different superintendents.
Westholder says she now has other plans to tend to.
"I'm still giong to school and I'm working full time and I have a family," said Westholder. "So I'll be busy and I'll definitely stay involved in educational issues."
In Subdistrict C, a race with the widest candidate field—four—SwedishAmerican Hospital Administrator Ken Scrivano won over incumbent and long time board member and educational figure Alice Saudargas.
Scrivano took home 41% of the vote compared to Saudargas' 28%, followed by former teacher Jane Hayes' 27% and General Contractor Mickey Simmons' 4%.
Scrivano says, among other things, the board should look at streamlining the district.
"What I would like to do is certainly meet with the new board and start talking about how we can improve how the school board meetings actually function," said Scrivano.
Saudargas says she's looking forward to pursuing new opportunities, now out of office, but will always put families and their children's education first.
"I feel very, very sad that the community doesn't recognize the fact that I am truly there for their children," said Saudargas, who's served on the school board for 11 years. "And the families and the community--those are my priorities."
In the final race up for election tonight, Laura Powers beat out former school board member Bill Neblock for the seat in Subdistrict G. Power took home 889 votes to Neblock's 733. Current board president David Kelley chose not to seek re-election.
Powers says she's kept abreast on district issues, but is looking forward to diving in and tackling them head on.
"I've really been going through a little bit of how, what has got us to where we are now," said Powers. "And I'm anxious to hear the CFO's (Chief Financial Officer's) presentation on the budget for next year."
Neblock says that his second foray into politics is most likely over after this defeat.
"Will I run for another election? Probably not," said the 59 year-old Neblock. "There are people who are older than myslef, but I think this is the true test. Either they've decided that they have faith and they believe that I can do the job. Or they really have said, 'Thankyou, but no-thankyou."
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