Watch this page for coverage of the school board election. Results are expected about 8 p.m.
STEVE HELM 1,165 votes
DELVIN KINSER 1,057 votes
TAMMY SUTHERLAND-ABBOTT - 1,008
CHRIS JEWELL - 732 votes
Crystal Clemens - 704 votes
Stacy Johnson - 648 votes
Tony Whisenant - 561 votes
Three newcomers will join incumbent Tammy Sutherland-Abbott on the USD No. 480 School Board.
Steve Hlem received the most votes.
"I'm shocked and relieved," Helm said. "I think we all have the same concerns. I think that is why the vote turned out. Perhaps it is a conservative shift. That's the way the public wanted to go. We have to dig in and hit the ground running on the budget. They start that budget right when we take office. We have to be quick learners. Budget will take up a lot of time. It will be a tough budget."
Newcomer Devlin Kinser finished second overall.
"I was pleased," Kinser siad. "It will be an interesting time over the next coule of years at least. I look forward to serving and doing what I can to not only hep the Liberal school system but to rebuild the public's trust in what USD 480 is doing. It will take a team effort with the new board members and those who are already serving. I am confident we will. To me the most important two things, we have to make sure we can have a budget that we can afford, the community can afford and will best serve our kids and our teachers. The other thing is we have to be open and honest with the public about what we are doing and work to rebuild public trust with what the board is doing and what the adminsitration is doing. They are trying to do the best they can for our kids and we have to speak openly and honeslty and rebuild the public's trust. Then we can move forward and do some things we haven't been able to adfford to do. It will take open and honest communication with the board, administration and the public to make that happen. That is what my focus will be."
Chris Jewell is ready to serve.
"I'm ready. Is it July yet?" Jewell said. "I think we have to tackle the budget first. Biggest thing staring at us that we will inherit. Other thing is to see what happens in May and June bvoard meetings to see what happens. That can be interesting. The budget and getting some confidence back in the community will be two biggest hurdles as I see it. I think, maybe my name was a little more known. I don't think I told any stories, and I know I will try to be a board member, if you have a problem, I will listen and be honest with them. No matter how big or small, we need to listen. I think that is what the community is looking for, someone to listen and get back on track."
Tammy Sutherland-Abbott was re-elected for the seocnd time.
"I am very proud our communty saw me for who I truly am," she said. "I respect their values and they respect my value for education. I still believe that we have to live wihtin our budget. When the state told us we are cutting funds, we should only have had to worry about our cuts, not additional expenditures. We may have to figure out how to fund those who were offered contracts for the first year, but the board will have to decide whether to retain those positions or not. We can't spend the money if we don't have it."
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