Rumery wins contested Re-2 board race |

Rumery wins contested Re-2 board race

Ryan Hoffman
The candidates for the Garfield Re-2 Board of Education field questions at a candidate forum at the Rifle Branch Library. From left are Tara Rumery, Meriya Stickler, Jacquelyn Johnson and Jay Rickstrew. Rumery defeated Stickler for the Re-2 District D seat, the only contested board position in this year’s election.
Ryan Hoffman / Citizen Telegram |

RIFLE — In the only contested race for a seat on the Garfield Re-2 Board of Education, Tara Rumery edged out Meriya Stickler, with Rumery receiving 1,369 votes compared to Stickler’s 1,245 votes, according to unofficial results.

The two ran for the Re-2 District D seat, which includes Silt and areas of unincorporated Garfield County to the south and to the east.

Rumery, whose son will start kindergarten in the district next year, was thankful and at a loss for words Tuesday evening.

“I’m grateful that the people voted for me. … I’m excited for this new chapter and journey and I really hope I can make a difference,” said Rumery, who also expressed gratitude for the support from Stickler. “She really was encouraging to me, and I really appreciate that.”

Stickler also said she was grateful for the votes she received and wished the new board well. A mother with children attending school in Re-2, Stickler stated Tuesday evening that she intends on staying involved in the district.

In two uncontested races for the other open seats on the board, Jay Rickstrew received 2,352 votes and Jacquelyn Johnson received 2,264 votes, according to the unofficial results. Rickstrew will represent District B encompassing east Rifle and the unincorporated area between Rifle and Silt, while Johnson will represent District C, which includes south Rifle.

Those two along with Rumery join directors Anne Guettler and Shirley Parks on the five-member board.

The election marks a year of turnover on the board, with outgoing members Chris Pearson, Scott Doherty and Patrick Burwell leaving with a combined 20 years of service on the board.

While Johnson and Rumery are newcomers, Rickstrew previously served eight years on the board, including six as president, and brings some welcomed experience to a board with no shortage of issues in the near future.

In addition to the approaching annual budget process, the district is in the midst of a superintendent search. The process was timed to allow preliminary work to be completed before the new board was in place, while leaving the bulk of the search decisions to the new board.

The Colorado Association of School Boards, with whom the district has contracted for the search, recently completed focus groups, and the formal application process is scheduled to start later this month. Stickler said she intends on staying involved as a community member in the search process because she believes it important.

In addition to the superintendent search, all three new board members at an October candidate forum identified teacher retention as an issue they hope to address.

However, the new board will have to wait until later this month, at the earliest, to start on any of those issues. Board members cannot be sworn in until an official “abstract of votes” is completed, Re-2 Director of Districtwide Services Theresa Hamilton explained.

According to the Colorado Secretary of State, the abstract must be completed no later than the 18th day after the election, which would be Nov. 20 this year.

Garfield County Clerk Jean Alberico has scheduled the canvas and post-election audit for Nov. 17-18, said Renelle Lott, chief communications officer with Garfield County.

For that reason, the Re-2 board meeting scheduled on Nov. 10 will be with the outgoing board members. The district is tentatively planning a special meeting on Nov. 23 to swear in new members and elect officers, Hamilton said.

The first regularly-scheduled meeting with the new board is slated for Dec. 8.

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