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Schoolhouse-cleaning voters

It's early and my view of election results is limited to the final returns posted by the ever-efficient Allen County Election Board, but the anti-incumbent mood does seem to have shown up in school board contests.

In each of the three Allen County school districts with contested races, an incumbent has been defeated. In Southwest Allen County Schools, Sherry Chapman was defeated by Tim Loomis by 271 votes. In the East Allen County Schools district, Leland Etzler was defeated by Neil Reynolds by 50 votes. In Northwest Allen County Schools, Nick Schortgen lost to John Hilger by 69 votes.

To be fair, Reynolds and Hilger are former board members, so they both would be familiar to voters. At Northwest Allen, at-large board members Ron Felger and Mary Wysong held on to their seats, as did the Rev. Stephen Terry at East Allen.

The mixed results suggest that budget-cutting measures didn't have too much of an effect on the outcomes, but the prospect of more cuts might well have weighed on some voters' minds. East Allen residents are fiercely protective of their community schools and the district 2E voters might have felt their chances of saving schools are better with Reynolds.

There were numerous school referendum votes across Indiana today. I'll track them down tomorrow to see how school districts fared asking property taxpayers for additional support.

Karen Francisco, editorial page editor for The Journal Gazette, has been an Indiana journalist since 1981. She writes frequently about education for The Journal Gazette opinion pages and here, where she looks at the business, politics and science of learning as it relates to northeast Indiana, the state and the nation. She can be reached at 260-461-8206 or by e-mail at