published: Friday, November 09, 2012
School board race too close to call
GREG JONES | Staff Writer
The race for the District 2 seat on the Lake County School Board was so close Tuesday night that candidates Rosanne Brandeburg and Jim Miller will have to wait until Thursday to know who won.
Brandeburg received 61,505 votes, or 50.04 percent, while Miller received 61,399 votes, or 49.96. There will be a recount conducted by the canvasing board due to the election results being less than a half-a-percent.
Miller received about
49 percent of the vote during the primary election in mid-August, with Brandeburg capturing about 34 percent. But she got a lot closer Tuesday night.
"I think people know I look at the big picture," she said. "I'm prepared for every meeting. I vet every question. They know I care about our children."
Brandeburg said about 128,000 people voted in the general election compared with about 40,000 people voting in the primary election, which gave her an opportunity to get new voters.
"I'm grateful for all the support for me," she said. "I'm humbled by all the help from volunteers who put signs in their yards and in front of their businesses. I had so many volunteers who worked hard for me and wanted to see me succeed."
Because school district lines have been redrawn, Miller lives in the new District 2 and decided to run in his new district as opposed to serving out the final two years of his current term. Miller will resign his District 1 seat effective at midnight on Nov. 19 and, if elected, will begin representing District 2 on Nov. 20.
Brandeburg and Miller had to face each other in the general election to represent District 2, which includes Fruitland Park, Leesburg and Lady Lake, because he decided to run immediately. During the primary election on Aug. 14, Miller received more votes than Brandeburg, the incumbent, but not enough to win outright.
district 4 school board
Incumbent Debbie Stivender won 53 percent of the vote to defeat challenger Thuy Lowe.
Stivender, a former county commissioner for eight years, said she was thankful for school employees such as teachers, parents and community leaders during her re-election campaign. She believes she received support from so many people in the community because she listens to everyone and researches the issues before coming to a "fair decision."
Stivender said she has worked with others, such as Brande-burg, to cut the budget "line by line" as much as possible, but rejects the notion of cutting district employees salaries to help balance the budget, saying, "They haven't had a raise in a long time."
Stivender said the biggest challenge for the school board will be to find other revenue sources because the state has cut funding and the economy has slowed down in recent years. She said she wants to continue working with other board members and the business community to find solutions to funding problems.
"The first thing a business wants to know (is about) schools and do you have the workforce to hire here," Stivender said. "We have to be able to supply businesses with the workforce."
Supervisor of elections
Lake County Supervisor of Elections Emogene Stegall believes her track record of hard work, honesty and dedication returned her to office Tuesday night for the 11th straight time.
"I think people trust me, and they know my character and hard work and dedication to Lake County," she said. "Some people believe I don't work. I work many, many hours. I work 40- and 50-hour weeks, and I sometimes work seven days a week."
After winning her re-election bid with 54 percent of the vote compared with 45 percent captured by challenger Marjarie Lynn Eaton, Stegall reflected on the day and said it went well.
"It was a very, very good election," she said. "I didn't have any complaints of long lines, but I was so busy I didn't get the chance to speak to everyone."
Looking ahead, Stegall said there are financial challenges coming.
"I think the biggest challenge is budgeting," she said. "We have a slow economy and funding is a challenge. I never submitted a padded budget. I ask for what I need. I don't go out and just buy something because it is new and shiny."