CENTRAL POINT — In the race for four positions on the Central Point School Board, three incumbents appeared to be holding on to their respective seats, while a challenger took the early lead against the longest-serving member of the board.
Tracy Jackson, who ran against incumbent June Brock along with a third candidate in 2009, was leading Brock by 151 votes, 1,262 to 1,111, according to results released at 9:21 p.m. Tuesday by Jackson County elections officials.
Jackson, a teacher by trade but currently a stay-at-home-parent, said she was excited to hear the results, hoping the numbers would "stick."
Jackson and a third opponent, John Hilkey, challenged Brock in May 2009 with Jackson losing to Brock by 163 votes.
Jackson pointed out that "more people voted against (Brock) than for her in that election" with Jackson and Hilkey yielding a combined 1,584 votes to Brock's 1,195.
In a second contested race, incumbent Ed Lindbloom was leading District 6 retiree Cathy Salmon by 285 votes, 1,333 to 1,048.
Incumbents Bret Moore and Jolee Wallace were easily winning against write-in candidates.
While Jackson appears to be the only non-incumbent to gain voter favor on Tuesday, she said she would push for improved communication and better schools. Jackson was one of four candidates supported by a group calling itself Central Point Educators and Parents.
"My whole thing has been, 'If you always do what you've always done, you're always going to get what you've always gotten.' " Jackson said.
"Frankly, we have mediocre schools and everybody knows it. But they don't have to be that way. I may get put in a corner being the only new one, but I don't plan to shut up and I will be at least one who will listen to what people have to say."
Brock declined to concede before final results were posted. She said she was passionate about her service to community schools and would be "very sad" to lose her seat.
"I'm going to wait and see the final results," said Brock.
"I'm hoping I come out on top and I'll be really sad if I don't. But if I don't come out a winner, the people will have voted."
Neither Lindbloom nor Salmon were immediately available for comment following release of the vote counts.
In addition to Lindbloom and Jackson, write-in candidates Ryan Dale and Gordon Eckstrom were supported by the parent group in their late bids. But they were being handily defeated by the incumbents, with Moore leading the write-in votes 1,749 to 214 and Wallace leading 1,834 to 209 against the write-in totals. Write-in vote recipients' names are not listed on election results until hand counting can be completed, but Dale had declared against Moore and Eckstrom had challenged Wallace.
Both Moore and Wallace were elected in 2009.
The parent group, which formed only recently, has voiced concerns about the district's openness to public feedback on issues such as small schools and bus contracts. The group also has questioned the recent hiring of Eagle Point educator Lynn Scott as the Mae Richardson Elementary principal. Scott is accused in a civil suit of not responding appropriately to allegations of sex abuse lodged against an Eagle Point district teacher.