Thanks to School District 2 voters, Katharin Kelker, Karen Moses and Conrad Stroebe will be reunited on the district's Board of Trustees.
Incumbent Kelker and former board member Moses dominated Tuesday's race for two elementary seats on the board. The two women won by 31 percent and 27 percent respectively over five challengers.
They will be joined by incumbent Stroebe, who after trailing early, pulled ahead to beat challenger Jerry Wilson by 60 to 40 percent.
With all 46 polling places reporting, results in the elementary race looked like this: Kelker, 6,720 votes; Moses, 5,840; Michael Burke, 4,148; Ken Peterson, 2,810; Trish Flynn, 912; Michael Huck, 556; and Michael Carson, 488. In the high school trustee race, Stroebe beat Wilson 492 votes to 333.
The new board will meet Monday and elect a new chairman.
Kelker, 60, is beginning her second consecutive three-year term on the board. She previously served on the board from 1983 to 1993. She is a professor of education at Montana State University-Billings and has a doctorate degree in education. She and husband Paul have four grown children who attended Billings Public Schools and a granddaughter who is a student at Lewis and Clark Middle School.
Reached Tuesday night, Kelker said she is excited to continue her work on the board.
"I am grateful for the support in this election and very pleased to have the opportunity to work with Karen Moses again as a trustee," Kelker said.
She said she also looks forward to working with the district's new superintendent Rod Svee. "And I think we have a great opportunity to get focused and to restore the confidence of the public in what the board can do."
Moses, 49, is a counseling secretary at Senior High, although she will have to resign when she joins the board. She and husband Michael have two children who graduated from Senior High and one son who is a student there.
Moses served as a district trustee from 1986 to 1992. More recently, she was a vocal critic of the board during the teachers strike and afterward. She often lambasted the board for closing meetings she believes should have been open to the public.
"We need to be absolutely open with this community, period, without exception," Moses said Tuesday after learning she had won the seat. "We need to build a committee structure and public communication that opens up the decisions and challenges that face this district."
Moses also said she will work to "build bridges every which way," with teachers, staff, students and with the community.
Stroebe, 53, has represented Lockwood on the School District 2 board since 1985. He is a certified public accountant and financial planner with Conrad & Brown.
Stroebe and wife Teresa Dahl have a student at Senior High and two children who graduated from Billings public schools. After election results were in, Stroebe thanked the Lockwood community and his family for their support.
Stroebe said the public spoke through their trustee selections.
"The voters want the school district run openly and positively," he said. "I think they're tired of the negative stuff. They know how much talent we have, not only in the kids, but the teachers, the administrators and - believe it or not - the board. We need to use our talents positively instead of negatively."
The district has been in turmoil over the past several months, with issues from last November's teachers strike yet to be resolved. The district has also lost two recent lawsuits over issues pertaining to the state's open meeting law, and recently was hit by a third, similar suit.
The trustee election was touched by controversy when Trustee Gene Jarussi assisted candidates Burke, Peterson and Wilson in their campaigns. Jarussi said he helped recruit Wilson, but said he only offered help to Burke and Peterson after he learned they were running for office.