Russ Spahn, the unofficial winner of Tuesday’s race, is grateful for the voter support that landed him one of three available seats.
Now he’s ready to get down to business.
Spahn with 2,001 votes, or 18.6 percent, edging Cathy Walsh (1,990; 18.5) and Len Cich (1,977; 18.4), who also earned slots in the six-person race.
“I’m excited to know that, that many people had enough faith in me to vote and put me on the board,” Spahn said. “Finishing first, second or third didn’t matter to me as long as I had a seat because I had a lot of things I wanted to bring to the board.”
Spahn hopes to bring his leadership skills he honed as the city’s , as well as his background in education, to the board. He believes both, as well as his budget experiences as chief, will make his transition to the board a smooth one.
He’s also looking forward to blending board members’ personalities and backgrounds over the next several months.
“Based on the outcome and those on the board I think we have exciting challenges and people from all different walks of life, and hopefully we can work together and put together a plan,” Spahn said.
Walsh returns to the school board after a two-year hiatus that interrupted her previous 18-year run as a board member. She said she appreciated the response she received from the community that returned her to the board.
“It’s reflective that the community would like to see some changes and hopefully the changes, if any, are positive and good for the community and good for the kids,” she said.
Walsh said one of her first goals will be to push the administration to have more board meetings and discussions about issues. She’s also anxious to start working as a cohesive group.
“Regardless of where we all come from and our points of views, we all have to work hard and work as a team,” Walsh said. “We have to put aside our differences, and find out what we have in common and work toward a common goal.”
Cich, a longtime meeting attendee, said the district’s biggest challenge is having to do more with less and finding ways to be creative to “squeeze as much as we can out of what we have.”
“I’m happy that I made the top three and maybe we can make a difference,” Cich said. “I hope we can, anyway. We had lot of people that worked pretty hard to accomplish this and I appreciate all the help.”
According to the city’s website, there are still 115 outstanding absentee ballots, which all but assures Spahn, Walsh and Cich are in the top three, though the positioning among them could change.