The Richmond Register

November 7, 2012

MC School Board: Hager loses to Renfro for 4th-district slot

Brock, Coyle, Lackey will stay

By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — Only one of the four Madison County School Board members up for re-election was replaced Tuesday night.

Fourth district candidate Mary J. Renfro took the seat from incumbent Christopher L. Hager by 465 votes. Hager had joined the board in April to replace Doug Whitlock, who stepped down last year.

Renfro was finishing dinner with her family when the Register contacted her for comment. She had been unaware of the election results.

“I can’t believe it. That’s awesome,” she said. “I’m excited to come on board, and I want to thank voters for their support.”

Calling herself the only board member with school-aged children, Renfro said, she will advocate for full-day kindergarten, shorter bus routes and more after-school programs.

Although she didn’t do much campaigning, she said, she made many contacts through her job as a Realtor and through her work with local banks.

“I started telling people I wanted to see change. I want to look at budget issues and find out where the money is going,” Renfro said.

Fifth district candidate Beth Brock held on to her seat with 2,812 votes. She beat candidates Debbie Secchio (1,017 votes) and Robert G. Stephens (1,820 votes).

Brock joined the board in July after the resignation of Betsy Bohannon in June.

“I’m very humbled, and I’m excited to do great things for the kids,” Brock said. “I want to make sure every kid in Madison County gets the best education they can, that’s what it’s about.”

She has two children who attend county schools.

First-district incumbent John Lackey received around 61 percent of the vote Tuesday defeating candidate Kathie J.R. Bettler by 955 votes. Lackey was elected for a second four-year term.

“I’m very pleased to win, and I hope I can work with the new board,” Lackey said Tuesday night. “We have to tighten our belts and be conservative with our money. I’m hoping the old members and the new members will act accordingly.”

One “sensitive” issue Lackey plans to continue monitoring is “expensive out-of-state trips by extracurricular teams,” he said. 

Second-district incumbent Becky L. Coyle was elected for her fourth term on the school board. She received 2,275 votes, around 700 more than runner-up Jimmy Allen. The other second-district candidates, Bill Phillips and Greg Mayo, received only 561 votes and 410 votes respectively. 

“I appreciate the people who have supported me for the past 12 years and in this election,” Coyle said. “I look forward to working with the new board and to make things happen in Madison County.”

Coyle said she also was fortunate that “Lackey’s comments didn’t mean as much as he thought they did,” referring to an advertisement in Sunday’s Register in which Lackey said “the persons representing Division 2 (Coyle) and 5 (Brock) should be replaced.”

Lackey went on to endorse replacement candidates Secchio and Stephens to “reorder certain spending priorities of the Board,” he said.

“We will work together, because that’s what it takes to be united as a board,” Coyle said. “It’s all about the kids.”

In general, boards of education in Kentucky consist of five members. Members are elected on a nonpartisan ballot in even-number years.

Member serve four-year terms — staggered so that the terms of not more than three members of a local board expire at the same time, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association.

Chairperson Mona Issacs remains on the board and will not be up for re-election until 2014.

Crystal Wylie can be reached at cwylie@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.