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3 incumbents retain seats on school boards.

Byline: Andrea Damewood The Register-Guard

Three incumbents with 41 years of experience between them claimed their contested races for Bethel School Board, Springfield School Board and Lane Education Service District positions by wide margins on Tuesday.

More than half of that experience belongs to Ginger Poage, who has filled Position 6 on the Bethel School Board for the past 24 years. She retained her spot, defeating political newcomer Rachel Parra 66 percent to 34 percent.

Poage, 66, a district resident since 1964, has seen her four daughters go through the system, and now has grandchildren in Bethel schools. Tuesday's election was the first to be contested since her original run in 1982, and is likely to be her last, she said.

"I would just like to be able to finish up some of the projects we started," Poage said. "I have a great love for kids and for Bethel, and that's the biggest part of my passion."

In the immediate future, Poage hopes to complete the teachers' contract this summer, and to use any potential budget surplus over the next four years to expand programs such as music and physical education as well focusing on improving math scores, decreasing class size and adding librarians.

In Springfield, incumbent Garry Weber retained School Board Position 4, defeating his opponent, freelance writer and homemaker Trisha Barnes 60 percent to 40 percent.

Weber, a general operating partner of Roaring Rapids Pizza Co., has been on the board since 1999, and also was facing his first opposed election since his initial bid.

"I like to see each election as my opportunity to ask voters again if they would support me in a leadership role in our school district," Weber said. "From the early results, it looks like they said yes, and I'm very honored to do so."

Weber said he went door-to-door and hit the streets to talk to voters, most of whom indicated they liked the way things were going in the district.

Among his priorities are expanding the alternative Academy of Arts and Academics to a four-year high school program, and continuing the district's upward trend in test scores, he said.

"The overarching goal is that every one of our students in Springfield has the opportunity to cross that graduation line, receive their diploma and then get to do what they really want to do after high school," Weber said. "It's a simple goal, but a profound one."

In the Lane ESD Position 4 contest, nine-year incumbent Michelle Holman of Deadwood beat Mark Boren of Veneta 65 percent to 35 percent.

In a closer competition with no incumbent candidate, Carol Horne, a writer and research assistant with the Oregon Center for Applied Science, narrowly edged Chuck Forster, executive director for Lane Workforce Partnership, 51 percent to 49 percent.

All candidates were unopposed for the Eugene School Board: Position 1, Alicia Hays, director of the Lane County Department of Children and Families; Position 4, Craig Smith, a business attorney with Hershner Hunter LLP; Position 5, Jim Torrey, former mayor and business consultant; and Position 7, Yvette Webber-Davis, director of Education Policy and Inclusion for the Oregon University System.

Unopposed Bethel School Board candidates include: Position 3, Greg Nelson, adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Oregon; and Position 4, Wayne Watkins, an accountant with Industrial Finishes and Systems Inc.

Laurie Adams, a real estate broker with RE/MAX First Choice, retained Position 1 in the Springfield School Board.

Joe Berney kept Position 2 for Lane ESD, while Sherry Duerst-Higgins will stay in Position 5.
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Title Annotation:Elections; The Bethel, Springfield and Lane ESD winners have given many years of service
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 16, 2007
Next Article:Incumbent Hall, newcomer McCown capture LCC seats.

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