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Two incumbents and newcomer win seats on Ignacio school board

Race was called late Tuesday night
Incumbent board member Jay Dee Brunson beat out challenger Sheryle Hunter for the final spot on the Ignacio school board Tuesday night. (Durango Herald file)

Two incumbents and a newcomer – the top vote-getter of the night – won election Tuesday to the Ignacio School District JT-11 Board of Education.

Newcomer Ross Melton stole the spotlight as the top vote-getter by roughly 2.5% of the votes in La Plata County and almost 5% in Archuleta County.

A portion of Ignacio School District spans into Archuleta County, where 304 total votes had been cast as of 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Incumbents Allen McCaw and Jay Dee Brunson were reelected to the board.

Melton told The Durango Herald on election night that because he was new to the board, he looks forward to listening to staff members and working with other board members to understand how to best serve the district.

McCaw finished with 22.3% of the votes in La Plata County and 21.7% in Archuleta County. Brunson beat out Sheryle Hunter for the third spot on the board finishing with 20.2% of the votes in La Plata County and just 14.8% in Archuleta County.

Hunter did get the better of Brunson in Archuleta County but the margin of Brunson’s lead in La Plata County was too much to overcome.

“I’m excited to continue on the path that I started four years ago and the school district is making great strides in building long-lasting partnerships, engaging with the students and the parents continue to have a positive working relationship with the teachers,” McCaw said.

Issues McCaw wanted to tackle over the next four years are finding more teacher housing, continuing to build on teacher recruiting and retention, and evaluating what Colorado Universal Preschool plan would look like for the school district.

“Obviously, I’m happy with the outcome. I’ve seen the other two candidates and I’m happy with that as well,” Brunson said.

Brunson was previously selected to the board for two-year term after a former board member resigned from the position.

He said he wants to help the district continue to improve in student attendance, test scores and graduation rate.

He said test scores were heavily impacted because of the COVID-19 pandemic and student attendance has been an issue for districts across the state.

“We’re improving each year. But there’s always room for improvement. We’re never going to stop,” Brunson said.

Founder of GLS consulting Gina Schulz received a little more than 15% of the vote in La Plata County while Hunter had 17.5% of the votes in La Plata County.

Both Schulz and Hunter fared slightly better in Archuleta County, which holds a much smaller portion of the district.

“Win or lose, anyone who throws their hat into a school board race is doing it because they want to serve the students and families in the district and deserve our thanks,” Schulz said before the election had been called Tuesday night. “There’s a lot of work ahead and I wish everyone the best.”


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