Two write-in candidates win school board seats

BELLWOOD – Two of three candidates who conducted write-in campaigns for seats on the Bellwood-Antis school board have won.

According to official results announced Friday, Jeff Nycum and Chris McCartney were among the four candidates who were elected to four-year terms on the board.

The top vote getter was retired middle school principal Robert W. Fisher with 810 votes, followed by Nycum with 723, McCartney with 671 and incumbent Lisa Kovac with 632.

Kevin Luensmann, the third write-in candidate, finished fifth with 603 votes, incumbent director Scott Boyer finished sixth with 537 and incumbent Christopher Riddle finished seventh with 420 votes.

The write-in candidates launched their campaign after an August decision by the school board to fill 3 teaching positions, which angered members of the Bellwood-Antis Education Association.

The write-in candidates also felt it was time for some new blood on the school board and were looking for more transparency and open discussion about agenda items.

McCartney, an independent and state certified real estate appraiser, said he was not surprised by the results.

“I was hoping all three of us would get in, but we will take two. I wasn’t sure if people would do it, but after seeing the turnout, I was pretty confident we were going to get in,” McCartney said.

Nycum, who works for a local landscaping business, was pleased with the results.

“I thought it could have gone either way. Getting elected as a write-in is extremely difficult, but it shows the public wanted a little bit of a change,” Nycum said. “The ones who are going off the board need to be thanked for their service.”

Although he didn’t win, Luensmann, owner of Cove Beverage in McKee, was satisfied with the results and said he would consider running again.

“I am excited we got two people elected. We were facing an uphill battle, but I am glad we got two guys who are committed to opening up communication. This is a step in the right direction,” Luensmann said.

Boyer, who was previously on the board from 1997 to 2004, had been reappointed in September 2011. Riddle also had been appointed in September 2011.

Incumbent Linda Cherry, who has been on the board since 1991, did not seek re-election.

Kovac was the only incumbent to win re-election.

“I am happy to be back and am looking forward to moving the school district in a positive direction,” Kovac said.