November 20, 1997 in Nation/World

Barlow Wins School Race On Third Try Mccann Defeated By 220 Votes In District 81

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The third time was the charm for Spokane school board candidate Don Barlow.

He was declared the winner of a close race Wednesday, when he ended up with 220 votes more than opponent Joanne McCann.

“Finally, it’s over,” said Barlow, who has tried twice before for a seat on the board. “Now we can get back to business. Everything was pretty much on hold.”

The slim margin of victory will trigger an automatic recount Monday, but that is unlikely to change the result.

The candidates have been in limbo since the Nov. 4 election, when results were so close that elections officials said absentee ballots would decide the winner.

McCann, who made some people in education circles nervous by disagreeing with the state’s education reform plan, said she’s just thrilled she got so many votes in her first political race.

“I’m really encouraged by how many (supporters) there were and their belief in me,” she said.

Barlow said he learned he’d won the race when Superintendent Gary Livingston left a message on his voice mail. He’ll go right to work at the next board meeting Wednesday night when board President Nancy Fike steps down.

“Don will bring experience and breadth of the community that will be a nice addition to the board,” Livingston said. “Given his experience with the district, he’ll be a quick study in getting up to speed.”

Barlow ran Indian education programs at District 81 for 12 years.

When campaigning, he said one of his biggest strengths would be serving as a liaison between schools and minority communities. Barlow is an Ottawa tribal member.

He’s joining board members just as they’re attempting to sell the public on a $74.5 million bond to renovate and upgrade Spokane schools. The issue goes before voters in February.

Barlow will also have a voice in a proposal to make it harder for students to advance to the next grade without mastering certain skills. Administrators hope to have a new policy in place next fall.

Ferris High School teacher Jerry Hughes, a McCann supporter, said McCann’s near miss should alert administrators that a big chunk of the community is skeptical about education reform.

“It’s quite an endorsement that there is some concern about the direction of schools,” Hughes said.

“I think clearly (district officials) didn’t want her to win because she was a dissident. I think that’s really sad. Sometimes it’s healthy to have someone on the board who questions.”

Livingston said McCann left her mark with some key messages.

“She challenged us to even find new ways to communicate and listen, and I think we’ll explore those,” Livingston said. “And I think Don will help us do that.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: The results

MEMO: Two sidebars appeared with the story:

1. THE RESULTS

Spokane School District 81

School Board Position 1

Final

CANDIDATE VOTES PCT.

Don Barlow 27,115 50.2%

Joanne McCann 26,895 49.8%

Source: Spokane County

Staff graphic

2. MAYOR’S RACE

The final count of Spokane city ballots confirmed what voters have suspected for two weeks: John Talbott is Spokane’s next mayor.

Talbott topped incumbent Jack Geraghty by 433 votes out of more than 57,000 cast. That’s a margin of about seven-tenths of 1 percent. Close, but not enough for an automatic recount.

The final tabulation did not change any of the other Spokane city races either. Phyllis Holmes, Cherie Rodgers and Rob Higgins were elected to seats on the Spokane City Council.

A recount of the ballots in the Fire District 10 commissioner race between Jim Peirone and Dave Foxworth will take place Tuesday. Peirone and Foxworth are tied, with 685 votes each.

State law says those ballots must be counted by hand. If they remain tied at the end of the recount, Elections Supervisor Tom Wilbur said the candidates will draw lots to determine the winner in the West Plains district.

Two sidebars appeared with the story: 1. THE RESULTS Spokane School District 81 School Board Position 1 Final CANDIDATE VOTES PCT. Don Barlow 27,115 50.2% Joanne McCann 26,895 49.8% Source: Spokane County Staff graphic

2. MAYOR’S RACE The final count of Spokane city ballots confirmed what voters have suspected for two weeks: John Talbott is Spokane’s next mayor. Talbott topped incumbent Jack Geraghty by 433 votes out of more than 57,000 cast. That’s a margin of about seven-tenths of 1 percent. Close, but not enough for an automatic recount. The final tabulation did not change any of the other Spokane city races either. Phyllis Holmes, Cherie Rodgers and Rob Higgins were elected to seats on the Spokane City Council. A recount of the ballots in the Fire District 10 commissioner race between Jim Peirone and Dave Foxworth will take place Tuesday. Peirone and Foxworth are tied, with 685 votes each. State law says those ballots must be counted by hand. If they remain tied at the end of the recount, Elections Supervisor Tom Wilbur said the candidates will draw lots to determine the winner in the West Plains district.


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