Hard night for incumbents in Calhoun GOP school board race
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Mar 14, 2012 | 4533 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Voters want to see some new names on the Calhoun County Board of Education.

According to results of Tuesday's primary elections, of the seven incumbent board members, only four will have a chance to win another term in the November general election.

The incumbents to fall were board Chairman Larry B. Stewart, June Evans and Tom Young.

Twenty-two candidates qualified for a chance to win one of the seven seats on the board. Nineteen of them ran as Republicans.

The top seven vote-getters in November will win six-year terms on the board.

Mike Almaroad garnered the largest share of votes among Republican candidates Tuesday with 8 percent. If elected in November, it will be his fifth term as a board member.

He says he has seen just about everything in his time on the board, and looking forward, it is going to come down to funding.

“I’ve seen proration of 8 percent, and I’ve seen more stimulus money than you can spend,” Almaroad said Tuesday night, pausing while taking down his campaign signs.

Almaroad said he is proud of the way the board has carefully managed money, and he expects the trend to continue if elected in November.

“This board has no debts. In my 24 years, we have never had a bond issue. Everything we’ve built, we’ve paid for. We’re going to watch it,” he said.

Republican nominee Jeff Winn is hoping to leverage his experience as the retired principal of Saks Elementary. Winn believes funding will remain front-and-center as the school system continues to try and do more with less.

“I’ve been in the fire, so to speak,” Winn said. “I’m an advocate for public schools. I love what public schools can do for the underdog, for the kids that don’t have a whole lot.”

Current board member David Gilmore, a Saks resident, said the loss of some of its incumbents means the new board will have to learn to work with one another. Having served only one term, Gilmore said he learned quickly that board members do not run the schools.

Dale Harbin has served on the board for three terms and will appear on the November ballot again. Harbin said watching his children grow up in public schools made him want to serve.

He said he is proud of what the board has accomplished and is looking forward to working with the first-time board members. He also said he believes the new people will bring new ideas and a new outlook.

Attempts to reach Debbie Hess, Phil Murphy and Tobi Burt by phone Tuesday night were unsuccessful.

For the three Democrats who filed — Sharron Gains Buford, Paul Ford and Dennis Christopher — there was no primary race. With so few Democrats in the running, all three will be named on the general election ballot in November.

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