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Incumbents roll in school board races

Board chair Jeff Kinsella is one of three incumbents coasting to victory in Medford in the Tuesday school board elections.

Board chair Jeff Kinsella is one of three incumbents coasting to victory in Medford, chair Eva Skuratowicz will likely retain her seat in Ashland and Phoenix-Talent’s three incumbents all had big leads as preliminary results from local school board elections were released Tuesday night.

The results won’t become official until all the votes are counted. As of 9 p.m. Tuesday 34,212 votes from Jackson County’s 157,937 registered voters had been counted, or about 21.6%.

Few board hopefuls ran unopposed in what turned out to be a busy special election locally, but for the most part incumbents ruled the day, with the lone exception a toss-up between incumbent Emily McIntire and challenger Hank Rademacher for position 5 on the Eagle Point School Board.

The races for spots on the Medford School District board weren’t nearly as competitive, though the numbers may tighten up as more votes come in. Kinsella appears to be holding off Robin Lee in the race for position 1, securing a 1,340-vote lead (5,297-3,957) with 9,299 votes counted.

Medford’s other two races were even more lopsided. Suzanne Messer, the board’s vice chair, had a 3,432-vote lead over Benjamin Buchta with 9,106 votes counted for position 2, and Cynthia Wright had secured 78.5% of the votes (6,912-1,840) in her race against Adam McGrew for position 3.

Skuratowicz looked like a lock to retain her position on the board Tuesday night after opening up a big early lead on Misha Hernandez, and Jill Franko and Rebecca Dyson were on the verge of securing their own seats in a district that will have two new board members after Jim Westrick and Tomas Monter-Rangel decided to step down.

Skuratowicz, the director of Southern Oregon University’s research center, appears headed toward a fourth four-year term since joining the Ashland School Board in 2009. She had a 2,224-vote lead in the race for position 3 after 4,952 votes were counted, representing a 72.3%-27.4% lead.

The other races in Ashland were similarly lopsided. Franko collected 70.5% of the votes and had a 2,020-vote lead over Natalie Jackson in the race for position 1 late Tuesday, and Dyson earned 69.1% of the votes and had a 1,886-vote lead over Sarah Beata DeLong in the battle for position 4.

Hernandez, Jackson and DeLong appear to have fallen short after running on a slate focusing on equity and inclusion, supporting working families and developing community partnerships.

The Phoenix-Talent School Board was election central locally, with 11 candidates vying for five positions and only one incumbent, Nancy McKinnis (Position 3, Zone 1), running unopposed. McKinnis, Sara Crawford (Position 1, Zone 2), Rebecca Weathers (Position 5, Zone 1), Michael Campbell (Position 6, Zone 2) and Polly Fowler-Farrimond (Position 7, Zone 2) all appeared headed to victories Tuesday night, with Fowler-Farrimond receiving 43.6% of the votes in the four-candidate race for Position 7, Zone 2 that turned out to be the district’s most competitive.

Six candidates ran for three open spots in the Eagle Point School District. The early returns showed that incumbents Randy Wolf (Position 2) and Joshua Graves (Position 3) had secured big leads, but Rademacher had a slim 44-vote lead (1,435-1,391) over McIntire with 2,832 votes counted.

Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-821-0829 or jzavala@rosebudmedia.com.