|Voters okay school bond issue; Canda and Flower to take commish seats
In a blitz recall campaign that lasted just 113 days from start to finish, two of the three county commissioners have been removed as a result of Tuesday’s election. Yet the results are not exactly what the main recall campaign organizers seemed to want.
Both Bob Kattnig, District 1, and Donna Hood, District 3 were successfully recalled, while Jay Printz in District 2 defeated both the recall and successor candidate Sandra Attebery. Bill Canda, endorsed directly by the recall campaign, was selected as the successor to Kattnig. Tom Flower however, edged out a victory over the recall campaign endorsed Kit Shy and independent candidate John Johnston.
Directly following the release of the election results at the Custer County Courthouse Tuesday night, Flower stated “I am overwhelmed by the turnout in the election and very excited.” Flower further stated, “It is time to heal the community and move forward together now that the election is over.”
The numbers reveal the tough and divisive recall campaign. Kattnig lost the recall 1354 “Yes” to 1174 “No,” a 180 vote difference. Hood lost 1406 “Yes” to 1130 “No,” a 276 difference. Jay Printz claimed victory with 1201 “Yes,” to 1323 “No,” a 122 vote difference.
Canda and Flower will be sworn in as the new county commissioners after the election is certified. The next scheduled commissioners meeting is November 22, so it is expected that they will be seated somewhere around Thanksgiving.
While the commissioner recall was the main focus of the 2017 election, the questions of building codes and a school bond tax increase were both decisively answered. The 1A Building Codes initiative was defeated with 689 “Yes,” and a thumping 1276 “No.” The 3A school bond on the other hand, passed with flying colors, 1481 “Yes,” to 886 “No.”
“Fabulous!,” Sam Frostman, co-chair of the Save Our Schools campaign, responded when she learned of the 3A passage by a resounding 63 percent “Yes” vote. The successful ballot initiative now makes it possible for the Custer County School District to move forward with the Colorado BEST grant funding for much needed repairs of the aging school facilities. The BEST grant funds will be matched 60/40 with the mill levy bond issue approved by voters last Tuesday.
Frostman, after catching her breath, went on to say, “I am overwhelmed with the support of our community for our school!” Generally perceived as a vote for today’s students and tomorrow’s children, the “Bobcat Pride” of the county obviously carried over into the positive voting turnout for the issue.
District Superintendent Mark Payler said of the result, “Thank you for all of your hard work, passion and commitment for our schools! Our work began yesterday [Tuesday] by interviewing four Owner Reps—Terre Davis, Lockett Pittman, Jim Bradbury, and Chuck Keyes were on the committee—and we will offer a contract later this week or next. We had four very good applicants and interviewees. The BEST contract with the state will arrive in the next few days....and off we go! I couldn’t say ‘off we go’ without all of you. Thank you again, and savor today...”
Second Grade teacher Sydney Camper was part of the anxious crowd milling about the County Clerk’s Office awaiting the results. When she saw the 3A passage, she beamed, and said “Our students’ needs are being met! Amazing! Lots of issues are now being addressed…”
The Board of Education (BOE) was reconfigured in the voting as well. Newcomer James Parkes, running unopposed in District 1 for a two year vacancy filling term, and Terre Davis, current BOE president, also running unopposed in District 5 for another four year term, both garnered confidence votes of 1497 (Parkes) and 1557 (Davis).
In District 4 however, incumbent director Bob Jolley gathered only 497 votes, not enough to reclaim his seat. The new director for that district will be Doreen Newcomb, with 778 votes. Mike Benoit, a third candidate, came in third with 454 votes. Contrary to the rumble on the street that there will be a run-off election for this seat, Newcomb is clearly the winner. One needs only to win by one vote.
The BOE meets next Tuesday, November 14 at 4:30 p.m. in the school library; the session begins with the swearing in of the re-elected and newly elected directors, who join current members Monty Lee and Jake Shy. The BOE will then elect officers and appoint committees before proceeding with the business agenda.
According to County Clerk Kelley Camper, 2559 ballots were cast out of the 3658 mailed, for 70 percent participation. A citizen “thank you” to the four election judges who oversaw the Tuesday evening counting: Sharon Berry, Rick Parent, John Shaw, and Debra Yackley.
-Jordan Hedberg and W.A. Ewing