5 newcomers file for SD2 board; none run in east Heights

Anyone still wishing to run can file as a write-in candidate until April 9
2010-03-26T00:10:00Z 5 newcomers file for SD2 board; none run in east HeightsROB ROGERS Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
March 26, 2010 12:10 am  • 

Two incumbents and five newcomers are running for four seats on the Billings School District 2 Board, leaving part of the Heights without a single candidate.

Ballots, which will be mailed out on April 19, are due to the elections office by May 4.

Incumbents Mary Jo Fox and Travis Kemp waited until Thursday, the last day of eligibility to file.

“I (wanted) to see if someone else was interested,” Fox said. “I would have welcomed somebody to give it a try.”

Fox represents District 3, which covers the western half of the Heights, and is the only candidate in that race. Kemp, who was appointed to the board earlier this month, represents District 1, which covers the south side of the city. Ken Ard, a 1992 graduate of Senior High, also filed for the seat in District 1 late Thursday afternoon.

“Someone needs to run,” Ard said.

Ard works for the city engineering department.

Starting in the fall, Ard said, he’ll have four children in elementary school in Billings. He wants to make sure they get a good education, he said.  He has one other child who’s not yet school age.

District 2, which covers the eastern half of the Heights, is represented by Joyce Weber, who is not seeking re-election. It’s the only district without a candidate.

Brett Rutherford, the deputy election administrator for Yellowstone County said it’s not often that a race ends up without candidates but that it does happen.

Candidates still wishing to run for the School Board have until April 8 to file as a write-in candidate. Their names will not appear on the May 4 ballot.

Should no write-in candidates file, the SD2 board will be required to appoint a trustee after the race, Rutherford said.

While the majority of the SD2 board races will be virtually noncompetitive, two ended up with multiple candidates. District 7 on the SD2’s far West End has three: LaVonna Robinson, Connie Wardell and Craig E. Hash. They’re running for the spot vacated by board Chairman Malcolm Goodrich.

Running in District 5, which includes the neighborhoods on either side of 24th Street West, is Lindy S. Graves. Peter Gesuale, the incumbent, did not seek reelection.

Fox said serving on the board is rewarding and exciting, but also it can be frustrating.

“It’s very demanding,” she said. “I can understand why it would give some people pause.”

Three other people attempted to file Thursday afternoon but did not qualify, Rutherford said.

One person attempted to file in the wrong district, one did not have sufficient signatures to file and the third person had no signatures. Twenty signatures are required to file for office.

Also on the ballot will be three mill levies: a $1.8 million elementary school levy that would support the district’s general operating fund, a $1.4 million technology mill levy for the elementary school district and a $1.1 million technology mill levy for the high school district.

Contact Rob Rogers at rrogers@billingsgazette.com or at 406-657-1231.

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