The votes have been counted and the results are in—for now.
As of Tuesday, November 3, two members, Kevin Wise and Erin Schmidt, have been elected to the Mason City Schools Board of Education to represent the district for the next four years. Due to the numbers being so close between incumbent Courtney Allen and Erin Schmidt (4,428 to 4,446), positions have yet to be finalized.
The majority of the voters favored Kevin Wise, a consecutively re-elected official who won with a total of 6,657 votes out of 15,531. According to Wise, the reason for his success is his ability to get his message to the voters.
“Every voter has different reasons when they cast a vote,” Wise said. “Mainly, the track record of success for our district and board is compelling and I think people tune into that. Getting that message to voters is important and I have tried to do that effectively as well.”
As of now, joining Wise to represent the district is newcomer and community member Erin Schmidt. Schmidt, whose decision to run came from witnessing problems in the community, said it was her sincerity that attracted voters.
“It is difficult to know exactly why people vote a certain way in elections like these,” Schmidt said. “My hope is that I conveyed a sense of interest and understanding about the current educational climate not only in Mason but in the State and country as well. I sincerely care about our teachers, students, and community and would like to think I earned the votes cast for me based on that merit.”
Wise said that the board is looking at some promising opportunities for the community in the long run.
“The plans for the board will remain on track in the short term,” Wise said. “Long term, we are looking at exciting opportunities to renovate the middle school and take the necessary steps to get our second graders in the same building. Our plans make full use of a state program that has been in the planning for 15 years and won’t involve any new taxes.”
Because the the first count revealed a win in favor of Schmidt by a less than one percent margin (less than thirty votes), the Board of Election has issued a mandatory recount, for which results could be pending as late as November 24.
Incumbent Board President Courtney Allen is on hold for now, until provisional ballots are counted, and possibly through a recount following that. As of now, she will be replaced by Schmidt on the board, unless the recount tells a different story.
Allen said the Board of Elections is going through the process, but regardless she will remain in her position through the end of the year.
“The Board of Elections is currently going through the process of counting provisional ballots,” Allen said. “If the votes are still within .5% once provisionals are included, then an official recount will happen. Regardless of the outcome of the election, my current term does not end until December 31, 2015. Therefore positions stay as is until then.”
Schmidt said she hopes the ballot remains in her favor and she has high hopes for her term as a board member.
“I hope to understand better the challenges facing our teachers and students at a classroom level,” Schmidt said. “A large percentage of the Mason and Deerfield Township community have no children in the schools but are still impacted by the successes and challenges of the district. Reaching out beyond the walls of our schools by working together with the community, the City Council members of Mason, the trustees of Deerfield Township, and local businesses will only make our schools stronger.”