The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Starrett and Belcher elected as at-large directors to the school board in a close race

Controversial issues like the mask mandate in schools, district infrastructure and funding and the inclusion of Culturally Responsive Scorecards in school curriculum resulted in an extremely tight race for school board members. Graphic by Elisa Carrasco Lanusse.

Challengers Chris Starrett and Roger Belcher were narrowly elected as at-large directors to the Grinnell-Newburg School Board (GNSD) on Nov. 2, 2021, over incumbents Meg Jones Bair and Barbara Brown. Challenger Tyler Harter also defeated District One incumbent Helen Redmond. Each new director will serve four-year-terms.

In the four-person at-large race, less than 3 percent of the vote in a pool of 5,000 votes separates the first and fourth place finishers. The top two candidates are elected to the board.

Voters in the at-large seat span Poweshiek and Jasper counties. Combined vote totals from across the two counties include 1,478 for Belcher and 1,458 for Starrett. Jones Bair and Brown trailed with 1,310 and 1,263 respectively. Harter defeated Redmond with the narrowest margin in the elections. Harter received 1,377 votes and Redmond received 1,338, a margin of 39 votes. Results are unofficial, and given the tight margins, placements of the candidates may change when official results are canvassed on Nov. 15.

Starrett and Belcher both drew controversy early in both their campaigns by opposing the GNSD mask-mandate that was implemented via a unanimous school board vote on Sept. 16.

District 2 Director Laurel Tuggle Lucina was also re-elected unopposed, with 71 percent margin, due to write-in vote. She only incumbent to remain on the board this election.

Voters also voted on the GNSD Revenue Purpose Statement (RPS), which dictates how the board is allowed to use funds from the state of Iowa. The RPS passed with 75 percent of the vote.

Editor’s Note: The Nov. 8 Scarlet & Black print edition incorrectly states that Helen Redmond and Meg Jones Bair were elected over Chris Starrett and Tyler Harter. This misprint is a result of an error where Jasper County vote totals, which are released by a different auditor’s office than Poweshiek County vote totals, were not included in the results. The online article correctly includes Jasper County vote totals.

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Nina Baker, News Editor
Nina is a third-year Russian major with a Russian, Central European and Eurasian Studies concentration from Lakeville, Minnesota. She regrets not earning a Linguistics concentration.
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