Local school boards will be experienced
PUSD incumbents, former Burton member return
There will be plenty of experience in the Porterville Unified and Burton school boards following Tuesday’s election.
In the Porterville Unified School District Board, all three incumbents — Hayley Buettner, Pat Contreras and Sharon Gill — are returning to the dais.
“I want to thank voters for their support. I have enjoyed the last four years and am looking forward to serving our students and our citizens of Porterville for the next four years,” Buettner said, representing Area 1.
It was a sentiment expressed by all three incumbents.
“I’m very thankful to the voters of PUSD, District 2, for their confidence that they have placed in me,” Contreras said. “I will do my best work for the children of Porterville, the parents, and the administrative staff and all the employees. They all work very hard for the children and need to be listened to and applauded when they do well.”
For Gill, of Area 6, the victory was double sweet, as she and her husband, who was running for another term as a Sierra View District Hospital Board Member, both won.
“It was a special moment for us. I don’t know if there will be another time when we both run and win,” Gill said. “I appreciate very much the effort of the public for going out and voting. It makes you feel humble and grateful and I’m thankful for the confidence they have placed in me to make choices for their children. That’s what it’s all about, getting ready for the future.”
The future, however, will be challenging, she said.
“It’s not just in education. It’s everywhere. Physically and financially, we’re all going to feel it,” Gill said. “I don’t know what our President has in mind, but we’ll need to be judiciously aware of what we have and how we tend to spend it.”
Buettner ended with 649 votes or 56.98% of the votes; Contreras with 567, or 61.10% of the votes; and Gill with 1,367 votes or 54.57% of the votes — with all three ending the race with more than 200 votes than their challenger had. This year also marked the first time the trustees were voted upon by their represented District areas.
In the Burton School District, John Burkey, a 21-year former board member, will have plenty of experience to bring to the table.
Burkey said he is looking forward to helping the Burton School District continue to be the best in the area and that there are two fundamental issues that need to be addressed.
“One is finances. Even with Prop. 30, there is still not adequate funds and we need to decide how to use them,” he said. “The second is the upcoming retirement of the superintendent. Dr. Gary Mekeel has been with the Burton School District for 20 years. That continuity is extraordinary. It would be nice to bring someone with that kind of dedication to the children in the District.”
Burkey ended the race with 407 votes, or 70.66% of the votes.
Smaller school districts also received final numbers in Tulare County’s Final Election Night Summary Report.
For Pleasant View, Davy Gobel and William Jameson won the two open seats with 69 and 52 votes, respectively.
At Terra Bella Union, Mariana Lopez received 323 votes and Juan Figueroa Jr. ended with 281 votes.
Miguel Guillen will serve on the Woodville Elementary School Board after walking away with 47 votes.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.