Washington School District voters returned one incumbent and elected a newcomer to the board of education in Tuesday’s election.
Trish Mitchell, who was seeking her first public office, was the top vote-getter, capturing a total of 3,691 votes, or 36.6 percent, in all three counties that make up the school district boundaries.
Mitchell, of Washington, carried the vote in Franklin, Warren and St. Charles counties.
Incumbent Dan Contarini, also of Washington, was re-elected to a second consecutive term on the board. He previously served on the board from 1997-2000.
Contarini received a total of 3,416 votes, or nearly 34 percent.
Trailing the winners was John Lippert, a financial planner in Washington, who finished with 2,903 votes districtwide, or almost 29 percent.
There were only two seats up for election.
Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said she looks forward to working with both Mitchell and Contarini.
“Dan has made serving our community a top priority and we welcome the experience Trish will bring to our group,” said VanLeer.
Mitchell told The Missourian she is very excited to serve district patrons.
“I didn’t have any expectations coming into it, but was very hopeful that I would be elected,” she said. “To be the top vote-getter is very exciting.”
Mitchell, 49, said she comes into the office with a “clean slate” and is eager to learn all she can.
“I need to learn the ropes and I plan to take the time and do that,” she said. “I also look forward to working with the other board members.”
Mitchell ran a home daycare for 14 years and currently is a fitness instructor, offering classes through the city parks department.
Contarini, 59, congratulated Mitchell on the win and said he looks forward to working with her and the rest of the board.
“I really appreciate the confidence voters have in me to continue another term,” he said. “We still have some challenging times ahead, with only one question of the two-part bond issue proposal passing, but I am excited we will be able to do the projects proposed in the first.
“I also think we had a moral victory with Question 2, because it still got the majority vote, but failed to get the 57 percent required,” he added. “I know a moral victory doesn’t allow us to construct a building, but it was encouraging.”
Contarini, assistant police chief in De Soto, said the board will now have to decide on how to proceed with getting a new middle school built in the future.
All three school board candidates supported the two-part bond issue proposal.
Board members will be sworn in during the Tuesday, April 16, meeting.
According to unofficial results, the breakdown of votes for each candidate in each county is as follows:
Trish Mitchell — Franklin County, 3,075 votes; St. Charles County, 180 votes; and Warren County, 436 votes.
Dan Contarini — Franklin County, 2,910 votes; St. Charles County, 148 votes; and Warren County, 358 votes.
John Lippert — Franklin County, 2,441; St. Charles County, 142 votes; and Warren County, 320 votes.