Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

May 4, 2010

Experience pays off in school board races

By Brenda L. Holmes
Hendricks County Flyer

DANVILLE — Incumbents running for school boards seem to receive a vote of confidence from constituents during this year's election.

Pam DeWeese and Gary Brinkman will both begin their fifth terms as board members for the Avon Community School Board of Trustees.

"Pam and I have worked together very well as board members," Brinkman said. "We both came on the board the same year - 1994."

Brinkman said the community of Avon has changed tremendously since they were first elected 16 years ago.

"I grew up here, so it's special to me that I get to serve the community here," he said. "I care about the kids and the schools."

Their years of experience have been put to the test already with budget cuts this year.

"I think this would've been a difficult time for a novice to come on board," DeWeese said. "There have always been challenges - up until now it was our growth. Now it's the budget cuts. This is a critical time for school boards."

DeWeese said there is always a learning curve when a new board member is elected. She said the current board has a good mix of people and she feels the continuity will help them through the tough times.

"We've come to trust each other," she said. "It's always difficult when new people come on."

Brinkman said it's encouraging to him that the voters still want them to serve.

"Kids are near and dear to my heart," he said.

DeWeese received 42.65 percent of the vote while Brinkman earned 40.17 percent. Marquita R. Walker received 17.18 percent of the vote.

In other school board races, those seeking re-election were also confirmed by voters.

David Ayres won the Lincoln Township seat on the Brownsburg School Board of Trustees. He has served as a member for the past four years. He earned 72.17 percent of the vote wile Eric Knipe earned 27.83 percent.

There will be one new school board member in Brownsburg. There were three people running for the at-large seat on the board. Jim Murphy currently holds that seat, but did not seek re-election.

Michael Runyon won the vacancy with 37.34 percent of the vote. He was running against Thomas Kmets who earned 26.82 percent of the vote and Tracy Sullivan who received 35.84 percent.

Danville School Board of Trustees member Scott Bess will also return. He ran unopposed for the Marion Township seat on the board, earning 100 percent of the votes.

The Danville board will have one new member, as Brenda Crosslin decided not to run for re-election to the Center Township seat. Bill Bradshaw won the seat by earning 40.05 percent of the vote. He was running against Keith Gill (26.64 percent), John McBride (17.10 percent), and Chad Sisk (19.20 percent).

The Mill Creek School Board of Trustees will welcome two new members. James Bartee did not run for re-election for the at-large seat on the board. Replacing him will be Maggie Weatherman, who received 100 percent of the vote.

Sheldon R. Cooper won the Liberty Township seat with 39.20 percent of the vote, beating out incumbent Mark Keutzer who had 36.46 percent of the votes and challenger Jim Bryant who earned 24.33 percent of the vote.

The three incumbents on the North West Hendricks Board of School Trustees ran unopposed in their respective races. Kathy Waite (at-large), Brad Williams (Eel River), and Connie L. Bowman (Union) all received 100 percent of the vote.

The Plainfield School Board of Trustees race for the two Guilford Township representatives was a closely contested race.

Bart Beal earned the most votes with 40.66 percent, followed closely by Mark J. Todisco with 32.75 percent. Floyd E. Stanley garnered 26.58 percent of the votes.

Todisco has been serving on the board for 16 years. Beal will return to the board with eight years experience under his belt after a term away. Lisa Roesler did not run for re-election this year.

brenda.holmes@flyergroup.com