School elections, a mixed bag | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

School elections, a mixed bag

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 9:53 AM

School elections were held in Arkansas yesterday and the results were the usual mixed bag of generally lightly contested results.

I'll try to link later in the day my column for this week's paper on why the Walton- and conservative-Republican-backed push to move school elections to November is a bad idea. It's mostly about getting more people to vote against school taxes. School leaders like separate elections because they attract people focused on schools (and sometimes even defeating tax increases.)

In this school election, of 14 tax increase elections reported in the Democrat-Gazette this morning, 10 passed. Good or bad news, depending on your point of view.

In Pulaski County, there were no school elections for Little Rock or Pulaski County, because both districts have no school boards in state trusteeship. Members were elected to the new Jacksonville North Pulaski District. In North Little Rock, Scott Miller didn't seek re-election and a familiar figure, former legislator and current state agency head, Tracy Steele won that seat. Let's hope Steele will be as progressive as Miller, one of the most enthusiastic backers of the huge community effort for a tax increase to makeover the entire district and open facilities to the community at large.

Here's the summary of all school election results in Pulaski County.

Also: In Bentonville, a heated race with broad underlying themes resulted in the easy re-election of incumbent Rebecca Powers, a foe of a school distrtict non-discrimination ordinance and a favorite of the conservative Christians who've raised such a ruckus in the part of the world against gay rights and same-sex marrige. Powers was supported financially by the Jim Bob Duggar family. Campaigners pitched the race, which is nonpartisan, in partisan terms, describing Powers as a Republican and her opponent as a Democrat. Electioneering got ugly, with voters reporting lobbying near polls by Powers supporters raising an argument about men in women's restrooms.

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