County school board will look dra­mat­i­cally dif­fer­ent

The Island Packet - - Front Page - BY MAG­GIE ANGST mangst@is­land­

Vot­ers sent a clear mes­sage to the Beau­fort County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion on Tues­day: They want sweep­ing change.

Seven of the 11 school board seats were up for grabs in the elec­tion. And six new mem­bers were cho­sen to fill the open spots.

While four in­cum­bents ran for re-elec­tion, only Dis­trict 2’s David Striebinger eked out a win. Those who lost their seats were Dis­trict 3’s Cyn­thia Gre­gory-Smalls, Dis­trict 4’s Joseph Dun­kle and Dis­trict 7’s Evva An­der­son.

Af­ter two failed bond ref­er­en­dums that would have paid for school con­struc­tion projects, an on­go­ing FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­volv­ing the con­struc­tion of two Bluffton schools and the exit of the school dis­trict’s con­tro­ver­sial su­per­in­ten­dent,


Jeff Moss, new lead­er­ship is the fresh start the com­mu­nity wants, say coun­cil mem­bers.

Striebinger said he sees the large-scale turnover as “a sig­nal that the peo­ple want dra­matic change.”

“I’ve been op­ti­mistic be­cause I think we have a chance now to get back to the fun­da­men­tals and re­set ev­ery­thing,” he said.

Dun­kle, who lost the Dis­trict 4 seat to for­mer Beau­fort County teacher Tri­cia Fidrych, said he saw the re­sults as a mes­sage that vot­ers were look­ing for a change and wanted the in­cum­bents out.

“I think the change they were look­ing for was ex­actly what I’ve been do­ing the past four years, but un­for­tu­nately that didn’t make it to the sur­face due to some other board mem­bers,” he said Wed­nes­day.

Fidrych said she knocked on at least 400 doors lead­ing up to the elec­tion.

In talk­ing with res­i­dents, Fidrych said she be­lieved her ex­pe­ri­ence as a teacher and the cur­rent board’s in­ter­per­sonal re­la­tion­ship is­sues gave her the leg up on Dun­kle.

“The peo­ple of Dis­trict 4 em­braced the op­por­tu­nity to speak with me about their con­cerns and were open to my can­di­dacy and I thank them so much for that,” she said.

Ac­cord­ing to the un­of­fi­cial re­sults posted Wed­nes­day morn­ing, here were the re­sults in each dis­trict:

Dis­trict 2: In­cum­bent David Striebinger won the race with 50.77 per­cent of the vote and chal­lenger Terry Thomas re­ceived 48.11 per­cent.

Dis­trict 3: Wil­liam Smith won with 51.24 per­cent of the vote. In­cum­bent Cyn­thia Gre­gory-Smalls was sec­ond with 31.16 per­cent. Natasha Robin­son was third with 11.87 per­cent. And, Buryl Gar­nett Sumpter was fourth with 5.16 per­cent.

Dis­trict 4: Tri­cia Fidrych won the race with 60.07 per­cent of the vote and in­cum­bent Joseph Dun­kle re­ceived 39 per­cent.

Dis­trict 5: Richard Geier won the race with 30.99 per­cent of the votes and Stew But­ler re­ceived 29.76 per­cent. Sarah Stuchell came in third with 22.40 per­cent, and Ray John­son took fourth with 15.98 per­cent.

Dis­trict 7: Rachel Wis­nef­ski won the race with 36.31 per­cent of the vote. Chris Davey and Evva An­der­son fol­lowed closely be­hind with 32.73 per­cent and 30.31 per­cent of the vote, re­spec­tively.

Dis­trict 8: Cathy Robine won the race with 54.08 per­cent of the vote. John Eddy came in sec­ond with 29.56 per­cent and Paul Roth was third with 16.05 per­cent.

Dis­trict 10: Melvin Camp­bell won the race with 50.49 per­cent of the vote. Peter Kris­tian re­ceived 49.13 per­cent.In three of the dis­tricts, the mar­gins came down to less than 150 votes.

Striebinger beat his op­po­nent Terry Thomas by 121 votes, ac­cord­ing to un­of­fi­cial re­sults.

Melvin Camp­bell of Dis­trict 10 was cho­sen over Peter Kris­tian by 50 votes. And, Richard Geier of Dis­trict 5 beat his clos­est op­po­nent Stew But­ler by a mere 41 points.

Geier said Wed­nes­day morn­ing that he’s “not cel­e­brat­ing yet” due to the small mar­gin be­tween But­ler and him­self.

“Who knows if that could change,” he said. “... When the elec­tion com­mis­sion posts its of­fi­cial re­sults, and if I’m lucky enough to win, then I’ll cel­e­brate.”

The re­sults are not of­fi­cial un­til they are cer­ti­fied by Beau­fort County Board of Voter Reg­is­tra­tion and Elec­tions, which will oc­cur in the com­ing days.

DREW MARTIN dmartin@is­land­

Vot­ers stand in line to cast bal­lotse Tues­day morn­ing at the Thomas C. Barn­well Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing on Okatie High­way for Chechessee Precincts 1 and 2. Poll clerk Al Ger­ber said be­fore the polling lo­ca­tion opened, there were about 50 peo­ple al­ready in line.

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