We’ve recently posted about a few of the local school board elections around the US that had enough creationism involved to get the subject mentioned in the press. We’ll wrap them all up with this single post.
First, regarding the contest we described here: School Board Election in Carlisle, Penn., their local paper, The Sentinel of Carlisle, Pennsylvania now reports: Carlisle school board names four members.
You may recall that the same newspaper had asked the candidates what they thought of a creationism bill that was proposed in the legislature. They all seemed to oppose it, except that Jason Smith, an incumbent Republican, gave an opaque response. We weren’t certain of his position on the subject. Now we’re told:
Republican incumbent Jason Smith missed being re-elected to the Carlisle Area School Board by just more than 200 votes in Tuesday’s election.
Ah, Jason, we hardly knew ye. As for the other candidates, they don’t seem to be creationists, so there’s no reason for us to be interested in that election. We’ll leave Carlisle and move on to the next thrilling school board election.
In School Board Election in Durango, Colorado. we learned about eight candidates who were vying for three open seats on the Bayfield School District Board. One of those, Justin Ross, said he favored teaching abstinence. On the issue of teaching evolution, the newspaper had reported:
[Judy] Spady, who home-schools her children, said though she reads the Bible daily, she felt evolution and creationism should be taught in schools. Hillyer, Phelps, Cox and Ross agreed.
Only Timothy Stumpf and Kristi Smith rejected creationism in classrooms. Oh, and Carol Blatnick gave an ambiguous response: “I can’t believe this is still a question.” Later we learned that Ross — the creationist abstinence advocate — was no longer in the race because somebody figured out that doesn’t live in the district.
Now it’s the day after the election, and the Durango Herald of Durango, Colorado reports: Stumpf, Hillyer, Blatnick win Bayfield school seats. Well, Stumpf is a good choice, and Blatnick probably is too. Let’s see what the newspaper says:
Of five candidates competing for two seats with four-year terms, Timothy Stumpf – the only incumbent – led the pack with 26 percent of the vote.
Way to go, Stumphy! What else are we told? Regarding the race that Stumpf won, there’s this:
Daniele Hillyer, also triumphant, took 24 percent. Wendy Cox and Kristi Smith tied for third place, both taking 19 percent of the votes.
That’s reported as if those results were all in one race, so we don’t understand how Hillyer was “also triumphant.” Well, they were running for two seats with four-year terms, so maybe she won one of them. As for Kristi Smith, it’s good that she’s not a creationist, but neither is Stumpf, and only one of them could win — but if the newspaper is talking about two races, it’s not clear who she was running against.
Now let’s go to the other school board race for the Bayfield School District Board. The same newspaper story says:
In the race for a two-year term seat, Carol Blatnick defeated Judy Spady easily, winning 68 percent to Spady’s 32 percent.
We’re pleased with that result. Why? The newspaper reminds us:
Spady opposed Common Core, saying it amounted to federal interference in education, and Amendment 66. She supported teaching creationism and evolution in science classes.
So everything worked out fine in Durango, Colorado. We had written about one other school board race: School Board Election in Springboro, Ohio. That one was difficult to figure out. The only non-creationist we had identified was Don Miller, who had opposed the creationism proposals of Kelly Kohls, the creationist nutritionist. But Miller wasn’t running for re-election.
All we had to go on was some endorsements by other board members who weren’t running for re-election either (their terms don’t expire yet). One was openly creationist — that was Jim Rigano, who had previously favored Kelly Kohls’ creationism proposal — and the other, David Petroni, didn’t oppose creationism. We assumed their endorsements of a candidate branded that candidate as a creationist. The two of them endorsed David Bitner, Kolton Vaughn and Charles Anderson.
Kelly Kohls (flaming creationist) and Don Miller (not creationist) also did some endorsing, separate from one another. Incomprehensibly, they both favored Vaughn. Separately, Kohls supported Bitner, while Miller supported Anderson (as did creationists Rigano and Petroni, although Kohls didn’t support him).
That’s all we knew going into the election, and it was confusing. Now we read this story at the website of radio station WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio — the Miami Valley’s only National Public Radio News station. Their headline is Voters In Springboro Change Course For School Board. They say:
The Springboro School Board has been criticized over it discussion of hot-button topics, like teaching creationism in the classroom, and offering classes on the constitution which critics said had religious overtones. Tuesdays election of Ron Malone, Charles Anderson, and Dave Stuckey dismantles the majority of the conservatives on the school board, and changes the direction of the district.
Wow! One more excerpt:
Malone, Stuckey and Anderson beat out the more conversative [sic] opponents, David Bittner and Kolton Vaughan. Two remaining conservative members, Jim Regano and David Petroni, remain on the school board.
Because of the ambiguity of the endorsements, we’re not certain about the fate of creationism in Springboro, but it looks like a restoration of sanity. Welcome news indeed!
As you know, there are thousands of school districts in the US, and their board members are usually selected in low-publicity, low-turnout elections. This year only a few elections came to our attention — not enough to be indicative of any trend. But for what it’s worth, now you know what we know.
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