Political newcomer Amy Burback took second place and won a seat on the Independent School District 834 Board Tuesday with close to 25 percent of the vote while current Board Chairman George Dierberger finished fourth in the race for three board seats.
Burback, who took 24.96 percent of the 56,981 votes cast, was full of gratitude Wednesday morning after the unofficial results rolled in.
“There are a couple of things: I’d like to express my appreciation to the current board. The other three candidates on the ballot all had kind words and were very helpful in the forums and throughout the process and I really want to thank them for that,” she said. “I’d also like to thank the voters for entrusting me with these tasks. I’m really inspired to speak on their behalf.”
She added that she was pleasantly surprised to come in second in the overall race under Kathy Buchholz, who gained 31.55 percent of the votes. Burback said she was surprised because she had run a fairly low-profile race.
Buchholz said she is honored to continue to serve the community and thanked the voters for her re-election.
Mike Ptacek, who gained 21.82 percent of votes cast, had a bittersweet reaction to his narrow victory against his friend, Dierberger, who gained 21.13 percent of the vote.
“Well, you always feel good when you finish in the black, but it’s always tough,” Ptaceck said. “I was very pleased to place third but I’m disappointed that my good friend George Dierberger did not get elected. But I feel this election has sort of re-affirmed the tough things we’ve done as a board; the $6.4 million in cuts and the boundary changes we dealt with in particular.”
He added that he was very grateful to his supporters and he hopes Burback will give the board a fresh perspective but the hard part is what comes next.
“Our financial situations will have to be looked at very carefully as we move forward to determine the renewal of our levy,” Ptacek said.
Dierberger seemed to be taking the loss in stride.
“I’d like to congratulate Mike, Kathy and Amy on winning last night. I think it’s great that the voters weighed in and I’m proud of our accomplishments over the last four years. We faced a lot of challenges including boundary changes, hiring a new superintendent, cutting 6.4 million from our budget but at the same time we’ve managed to get outside funding to bring K-12 STEM programming to our district. We are the only district to have K-12 funding and we did it without taxpayer money. The early childhood building was also a positive,” Dierberger said. “We have a great board, we made tough decisions and we’ve moved, changed and taken risks. For me leadership is about change and risk taking but it’s also about management and keeping things the same as well and I think we’ve lead with groundbreaking and creative initiatives over the past few years. It’s been an honor to serve on the board, but when one door closes another opens and I’m hoping the door will open on another opportunity to serve in some other capacity going forward.”