2 New Members Elected to Jefferson County School Board, 1 Longtime Member Defeated
Two new faces will join the seven-member Jefferson County Board of Education following Tuesday’s election.
One long-time incumbent lost to a challenger. Two incumbent candidates were re-elected and one retired member was replaced—all the winners were endorsed by the Jefferson County Teachers Association.
In District 3, Stephanie Horne will take over for Debbie Wesslund, who is retiring.
With all precincts reporting, Horne narrowed beat out Angela Moorin, 38 to 36 percent respectively. Jan Sholtz, Lee Bailey and Louis Scarpenelli also ran for the seat. Horne had the help of endorsements from Wesslund and the Jefferson County Teachers Association. She is a parent and real estate attorney.
Horne previously responded to a WFPL questionnairesaying the charter school debate is best left up to states, which set the law, “however, I will advocate to retain local control via JCPS board if any proposed legislation is considered by our state legislature."
She also said that all of State Auditor Adam Edelen’s recommendations earlier this year following an audit should be implemented. In response to a question about the district's lowest performing schools said, “we need to focus on the mechanics, such as reducing class size, textbooks, and increasing the instructional portion of the budget.”
District 3 covers northeastern Jefferson County.
In District 6, covering central Jefferson County including the Newburg neighborhood, Lisa Willner received 54 percent of the vote, beating out longtime incumbent Carol Haddad, who first served on the JCPS board in 1976.
“I’m excited. Mainly I’m grateful for the support,” Willner told WFPL.
Willner, among others, and ran a campaign that leaned heavily on a state audit calling Jefferson County Public Schools’ central administration a “bloated bureacracy.”
“I think there are still questions to be answered," she said.
Willner previously told WFPL ina questionnaire that among her top priorities are creating, “responsible leadership and financial transparency to restore the public trust.”
Willner, a licensed psychologist, is against charter schools and said there needs to be a reevaluation of the district's funding and staffing priorities.
“I think new board members do make a difference. I think we saw that the last election cycle when new board members came on that it changed the dynamic of the board. There was a more future-oriented way of looking at things," said Willner.
In response to what priorities, specifically, JCPS should implement regarding the state auditor’s recommendation, Willner said:
“Ensuring financial transparency, through improved navigability of the JCPS website, and putting all financial information online. Eliminating outdated, costly, and inefficient operations, such as JCPS’ central warehousing system, which could save $3 million per year.”
In District 5, covering southern Jefferson County, incumbent candidate Linda Duncan kept her seat with 64 percent of the vote.
Duncan, who also received support from the JCTA, has served on the board since 2006.
“The record of service and the record of progress that the district’s made, I think, went a long way in this particular race,” she said.
Duncan said there will be a need to get the new board members up to speed to deal with issues the district faces Of Haddad's defeat, she said: “that’s going to be a difficult loss.”
District 1 board chair Diane Porter ran unopposed. Porter has been on the board since 2010, when she was appointed by Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. She won election later that same year.