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School board candidate's hopes lie with absentee ballots

James W. Staley says, 'I'm going to see what happens'

September 15, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS

With the fifth-, sixth- and seventh-place candidates in the Washington County Board of Education race falling within fewer than 80 votes of each other, seventh-place candidate James W. Staley said Wednesday he has not given up hope of following in his father's footsteps as a school board member.

The top six candidates in that nonpartisan race advance to the general election ballot, and up to 1,084 absentee ballots remain to be counted, according to election officials.

Three board members will be chosen in the Nov. 2 general election.

"I'm going to see what happens," Staley said of the absentee and provisional ballot counts, which will happen in two parts, on Thursday and on Sept. 22.

Results from the 51 precincts and early voting showed Staley 35 votes behind the sixth-place candidate, former school board member Russell Williams.

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Staley said if the primary results did not win him a spot on the general election ballot, he would consider running as a write-in candidate.

"If things don't change out there at the board, my personal opinion is it needs a complete overhaul," Staley said.

Staley, 44, is the son of current school board member William Staley, who decided not to run for re-election.

The younger Staley worked for the school system as a custodian for 16 years and in maintenance for eight years before taking a disability retirement in June. He said Wednesday that morale was low among employees.

"There's a lot of fear and intimidation that goes on out there, with some of the high-ranking administrators," Staley said.

Regardless of his own standing, Staley said he was glad to see retired teacher Karen J. Harshman among the top three vote-getters. He said he thought Harshman would help balance the school board.

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