A total of 5,938 ballots were cast April 3 as 11.35 percent of Christian County’s registered 52,302 voters went out to do their civic duty.
Some area school boards saw the addition of new members by only one or two votes, including Billings’ Lyndell Plowman, who took away only one more vote than fellow candidate Mike Tomlinson’s 168. Plowman said he was impressed by the voter turnout in his city.
Before the election, Plowman told Headliner News he wanted to focus on keeping an eye on student enrollment, and adding more staff as needed
“(The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) has specific requirements for different age groups and grade levels,” Plowman said. “Once we reach that point, where we get above that standard, we would like to go back to function below that with a smaller class size.
He said around five teachers were hired at the elementary school not long after the first day last fall, because new class sizes were noticeably larger.
“We’ve been very responsive to that,” Plowman said. “What we’re hoping is that those kids stick with us and continue on to the high school, and once they get up there those sizes will be too large for courses. I think we’re on the right track, the right path."
Chris Bos received 225 votes and took the second available seat in the Billings school board race.
“We had great candidates,” Bos said. “It’s hard to put yourself out there. They all could have done a great job. I am very humbled and grateful to the community who has put me back into a position to serve."
Bos added he plans to keep on making school finances as transparent as possible.
“We ask our superintendent to provide (numbers) on the finances at every board meeting,” he said.
Chad Sallee and Colton Jones earned positions on the Chadwick School Board, together taking away 341 of 444 total votes, respectively. Andrew Rice was the third candidate, earning 102 votes.
Spokane’s latest board members are Derek Hime and Carrie Rantz, earning a collective 323 votes of a total 660. They ran against Linda Mae Goodall and Aaron Winslow, who earned 74 votes and 139 votes, respectively.
“I am very thankful and honored to be re-elected to serve my community,” Rantz said in response to her win. “I would like to see our school keep moving forward in a positive direction. We need to keep communicating and working as a team."
Betty Braden and Jacob Finney were elected as Sparta’s board members, earning 220 and 219 votes, respectively, to Dennis Grant Lilly’s 217.
Finney, whose day job is with the Nixa School District, said he was thankful for the to opportunity to serve Sparta voters.
“I want to thank the voters in the Sparta School District for giving me this opportunity to serve,” Finney said. “This extremely close race proves how important it is to get out and vote in our local elections.
Finney added that he is looking forward to working with Superintendent Rocky Valentine “to do what is best for the students and staff of Sparta Schools.
“My immediate plan is to learn as much as possible about the district's policies, budget, and board practices so I can be a valued and informed member of the board starting at the first meeting,” he said
Newly-elected aldermen include Stephen Otten, Sparta Alderman, Ward 2, with almost 52 percent of the vote. He ran in opposition to Rosalie Watts, who earned 40 votes
Otten told Headliner News he didn’t think there was much of a race against his opponent Rosalie Watts.
“I didn’t campaign at all,” he said, adding that he was the best choice for Sparta, because he’s already been at the job.
“I’m already doing it. I’m already taking care of it,” Otten said. “I already know where we’ve been and I’m willing to keep going. I’m already here."
According to Headliner News archives, the Ward 2 representative in pre-election coverage stated he wanted to keep focusing on work such as an ongoing water project, repairing city streets and establishing a planning and zoning commission.
“We’ve got the money to get going already, and we’ve already awarded contracts to fix some of the streets,” Otten said, though he doesn’t have a timeline to determine how soon repairs could be completed. Planning and zoning will also have to wait.
“That will start as soon as we (know) people that are going to do it for us,” Otten said. “I’m sure you heard we got a new city clerk, so our biggest problem is trying to get a city clerk in here."
Ben York was elected as Fremont Hills Alderman, Ward 1, with 64 percent of the vote. York ran against Larry Darrow, who saw 40 votes.
The election also included a number of ballot issues.
Nixa’s use tax proposal barely passed with just 50.74 percent of the vote. Ozark’s use tax proposal, which also carried with it a continuation of an existing tax on vehicles purchased out-of-state, failed 516-611.
Ozarks Technical College’s Propositions A and B, which will keep a pre-existing five-cent tax levy for another 20 years and add another five-cent property tax levy to fund training in construction, manufacturing and healthcare, passed with nearly 60 percent of the vote.
A proposed bond issue for Chadwick School District valued at $1.95 million also passed with a whopping 80 percent of the vote. The measure asked for voter approval to build a new track and improve other facilities.
Another proposal regarding a new early childcare facility for the Clever School District failed with 54 percent of the vote. It needed a 4/7 majority to pass.
In addition, voters were asked questions regarding two of the county’s special road districts, Billings and Selmore. Selmore’s measure, seeking a tax increase, failed 32-59.
The Billings measure, which asked voters if the road district should levy an additional tax rate of 35 cents on $100 of assessed personal property value for a period of four years, passed with a majority 65 percent of the vote.