Three incumbent members of Stillwater, Minn.’s school board
lost their bids for reelection this week as a result of controversy regarding the school board’s
recent decision to put iBooks into the hands of about 1,130 students at the Oak-Land and Stillwater junior high schools.
The Pioneer Press reports that Mary Cecconi, Christy Hlavacek and John Uppgren all lost their seats on the school board, replaced by write-in candidates Nancy Hoffman and Christopher Kunze and challenger Andrée M. Aronson. Incumbent David “Choc” Junker retained his seat; Junker voted against the iBook purchase plan last September.
What makes the upset particularly noteworthy is that 33 percent of the 20,496 recorded votes went to the two write-in candidates, an “unheard of” percentage, according to election officials. Newly elected school board member Hoffman said that the iBook imbroglio “fueled people to go out,” but attributed her election to winning the voters’ trust and communication.
In late September, the school board
approved a US$2.85 million plan to give every student and teacher in the town an iBook — about 2,200 total — but the plan was scaled back more than a million dollars after residents balked at the cost.
“Some residents and parents said they were angry that the district went ahead with the plan without giving the public enough information beforehand,” writes Megan Boldt.