UCPS board gets new look; recount possibly coming

The Union County Public School Board of Education will have at least three new faces soon, and votes are still coming in to see if that number grows to four.

Laura Minsk and David Scholl, at-large members on the board, saw their campaigns flame out on Tuesday night – possibly a sign that voters are still frustrated over recent controversies that saw the board fire all teachers assistants due to budget cuts before hiring those willing back this summer. Seven candidates ran for the two open seats, with Christina Helms and Mike Guzman coming out on top and the incumbents coming in third and fifth.

“We just need to make sure that our children are educated to the best of what Union County has to offer,” said Helms, who took the most at-large votes at 26,530. “Union County has some of the most fantastic teachers in the state here. We’re truly fortunate to have them. We need to make sure that teacher morale stays up and that they have a positive work environment. We have to be making sure that the people that are hands on with our kids every day are satisfied that they have a positive working environment to help stimulate our kids. They do an incredible job; we’re very fortunate to have the teachers in Union County that we have. The quality of education and teacher satisfaction are top priority.”
Guzman, a Waxhaw resident who won nine precincts in western Union County, could not be reached for comment prior to press deadline. Helms, of Monroe, won the majority of the county’s precincts, while Minsk won two around Weddington and Scholl two near Fairview.

Still in doubt is the winner of the District 2 seat, which includes the Waxhaw area. Kevin Stewart beat out incumbent Carolyn Lowder by 86 votes, which is a small
enough margin for Lowder to request a vote recount if she wishes. She had not as of Union County Weekly’s press deadline on Thursday, Nov. 8. She has until Nov. 19, according to the county’s Board of Elections.

But Lowder may not need to, depending on absentee votes still arriving at the board of elections – assuming they were postmarked in time for the election – and around 800 provisional ballots that are yet to be counted, according to board of elections Director John Whitley. If a recount is needed, Whitley said the county will run all the electronic votes through the counter once more, and then run paper ballots through scanners to get a final vote tally.
School  board members John Crowder and John Collins were unopposed. The vacant District 3 seat was won by Richard Yercheck, of Monroe.

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