Voters OK $26 million Farmington schools bond

CCSD board Secretary Christina J. Aspaas wins second term after defeating write-in candidate Ramondo Clah for District 4 seat

Joshua Kellogg

FARMINGTON — Voters re-elected Christina J. Aspaas to the Central Consolidated School District Board of Education and approved a $26 million bond measure for Farmington schools during today's elections.

Voter Paul Pavlik fills in his ballot Tuesday at a polling station at the Farmington Municipal School District offices.

There were 1,144 votes in favor of the bond and 197 votes against the bond, according to unofficial election results from the San Juan County Clerk's Office.

The bond will fund the renovation and expansion of McCormick Elementary School that is projected to cost about $7.9 million, along with repairs at nearly every other Farmington Municipal School District school.

District Superintendent Gene Schmidt thanked the community for approving the bond. He said the bond approval puts the district in position for the next four years to maintain quality schools.

"It's a strong statement that schools are important in our community," Schmidt said.

After casting her ballot at the Farmington schools central administration office this afternoon, Linda Kemp said she voted in favor of the bond because her daughter Amy Anderson is a teacher at McCormick Elementary.

"They definitely need a new school there," Kemp said.

Aspaas, the CCSD board secretary, won a second term in office after defeating write-in candidate Ramondo Clah for the District 4 seat. Aspass received 161 votes while Clah received 59 votes, according to unofficial results.

Voter Walter Eaton completes his school board election ballot Tuesday at Judy Nelson Elementary School in Kirtland.

She was appointed to the CSSD board during an Oct. 2, 2012, meeting and was elected to the seat during a Feb. 5, 2013, school board election.

Aspaas said she was honored that residents voted her to another four-year term. She said her focus will be on ensuring student safety and "healing" the district by working on improving morale for district employees.

The election for the CCSD District 4 seat was the only contested race among San Juan County school districts. Candidates for the remaining eight board seats across the four county school districts ran unopposed.

Sheldon Pickering ran for the CCSD District 1 seat and received 98 votes. He will take over for current board President and District 1 representative Randy Manning, who declined to run for re-election after serving for nearly 24 years.

Pickering, owner of On The Spot Cleaning, said in an interview this afternoon that he's been impressed with teachers in the district who have taught his two daughters.

"We've had such a wonderful experience," Pickering said. "I want to give support for the district and schools anyway we can."

For the Aztec Municipal School District, incumbent District 3 representative Jimmy Dusenberry received 14 votes.

Fran Dobey will be the new District 1 representative after receiving seven votes, according to unofficial results. She is taking over for Mitch Waggoner, who has been on the board since 1999.

"I'm very excited and, yet, a little nervous," Dobey said in an interview this afternoon.

Voter Erick Crandall, left, is assisted by election official Althea Francis while casting his ballot Tuesday at a polling station at the Farmington Municipal School District office.

Dobey said she will resign from her teaching position at Park Avenue Elementary School to serve on the board. She has been a teacher in Aztec for more than 27 years.

Dobey believes she can bring a unique perspective to the board in discussions of how board decisions impact classroom instruction and students.

In Farmington's board election, Vernon Keith Corley ran unopposed for the District 3 seat and received 217 votes. Current District 3 representative and board Deputy Secretary Bill Young did not file to run after serving two terms on the board.

Corley, an assistant pastor at Piñon Hills Community Church, said in an interview this afternoon that he wants to do his part to ensure that children in Farmington get the best education possible.

"I felt like this was the best way to help push the district to the next level," Corley said.

Robyn Hoffman, board secretary and current District 2 representative, was re-elected with 102 votes.

Two incumbent board members for the Bloomfield School District were re-elected, and a new member will join the board.

District 2 representative Bruce Armenta received 11 votes, and Veronica Tso, current District 5 representative and board secretary, received 10 votes, according to unofficial results.

Tony DeHerrera received five votes for the District 4 seat that current board Vice President Eric Smith will leave after serving a one term on the board.

DeHerrera has five children enrolled in Bloomfield schools and hopes to use his experience owning and operating Ternco Trucking with his wife Nicole to support the district.

"I always wanted to get in there and do something for the community and kids," Tony DeHerrera said in an interview this afternoon.

He believes Superintendent Kim Mizell has been doing a good job and is excited to join the board and help support her efforts.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.