CUYAHOGA FALLS — Incumbents Karen Schofield and Kathy Taylor Moffet, plus newcomer Anthony Gomez, were the top vote-getters in a packed race for Cuyahoga Falls Board of Education, which saw seven candidates vie for three seats.
According to the final but unofficial results from the Nov. 7 general election, Schofield, the board president, had 19 percent of the votes, or 4,041 votes. Moffet, the board vice president, had 16.4 percent of the votes, or 3,503 votes.
Gomez edged out Rob Huffman by 49 votes, with Gomez receiving 3,150 votes to Huffman's 3,101 votes. Both received almost 15 percent of the votes.
Former board member Kellie Patterson was fourth with about 13 percent, or 2,746 votes. Current Board member Barb Gunter received about 12 percent of the vote, or 2,596 votes. Jim Robinette received just under 10 percent of the votes, or 2,120 votes.
The board of elections is expected to certify the results Nov. 28.
Despite failing to earn reelection, Gunter said she was encouraged by the result.
"I'm very proud of Anthony Gomez," she said. "He brings youth and history of the district to the table .. He will work hard for the betterment of all."
Schofield said she was "grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve as a member of the Board of Education for another term."
"I greatly appreciate the support from our school community," Schofield said. "We need to re-engage our community in the process of planning for rebuilding/renovating our school facilities. A new master plan will need to be developed and submitted to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. With the state share of costs at about 36 percent, we need to immediately move forward with the planning process."
Moffet said she would "like to see us work to stabilize our finances by determining who we want to be as a school system."
"Do we want to continue to be a system that continues to make cuts and apply Band-Aids, or do we need to take the necessary steps to build our programs and buildings to provide our students with the resources they need for their futures?
"It is my hope that the board will make the difficult choices to put in place a plan for rebuilding some new schools since maintenance of many of our buildings is a constant strain on an already tight budget.
"My biggest goal, however, is to bring to the community a positive collective voice from the board which will bring a better understanding of what public education is in the state of Ohio and what the citizens and board members can do to make our schools stronger."
Gomez said he felt "humbled" by the voter’s support.
"I told them what I want to do for them and now begins the hard work of making it happen," Gomez said. "I love this community and I'm excited to be of service to it. Thank you to everyone who ran for caring so deeply about our community."
Huffman said he was "happy we have elected three good people to the school board."
"I believe our district’s outlook is bright," Huffman said. "Candidates put their name out there and take the risk, obviously not for the money, but for love of community. It takes good people to stand up and fight for what we love. Today, I believe we have ... I was only 49 votes away and am very grateful for the support I received."
Robinette said that he has no plans to run again in the near future. He offered his congratulations to the winning candidates, and said he hoped "they do what they promise."
Patterson said she was "thrilled for Anthony and know he will be great for the district."
"I'm thankful for the support I received and have enjoyed my time while it lasted," she said.