Lack of contested races leads to canceled school board elections across Garfield County
All three Garfield County school districts last week declared they will be canceling their school board elections after only enough candidates to fill the seats completed paperwork to be on the ballot.
In the Roaring Fork District, incumbent Shane Larson (Glenwood Springs District D) was unopposed to run for a two-year term, and incumbent Jen Rupert (Basalt District A) was also the only candidate to declare for a regular four-year term in her seat.
Initially, four prospective candidates expressed an interest in the Basalt District E seat being vacated by longtime school board member Bob Johnson. However, only Jennifer Scherer and Deb Morrison completed their packets and submitted petitions. Upon inspection, though, Angie Davlyn, elections official for the district, said Morrison did not have enough valid signatures to run.
That left Scherer unopposed for the seat. Scherer will officially join the board and Larson and Rupert will be sworn in for new terms on Nov. 8, Davlyn said.
“With three candidates running unopposed and no other ballot issues or questions, state law directs that we cancel the election and declare the candidates elected,” Davlyn said.
Larson was appointed last year to replace Daniel Biggs, who had moved out of his director district and had to resign, thus the abbreviated term for that seat, according to Davlyn.
Likewise, the Garfield Re-2 District opted Wednesday to cancel its November election. Anne Guettler, Shirley Parks and Brock Hedberg will retain their seats, after each was left unopposed.
Re-2 Executive Secretary Sharon Donohue said canceling the election saved the district an estimated $10,000.
The candidates will need to be sworn in after election day, after which they can again participate in Board of Education meetings.
For Garfield County’s westernmost school district, Garfield 16, only three individuals had enough signatures to qualify for four open seats. Kevin W. Coleman, Lauralee C. Patton and Vincent T. Tomasulo will all retain their seats.