SANDPOINT — Gary Suppiger, Lonnie Williams and Cary Kelly will be the new trustees for the Lake Pend Oreille School District, according to unofficial results for Tuesday's elections.
Suppiger came out ahead of Richard Miller in Zone 2 at 368-292 votes. Because the results are unofficial until canvassing, Suppiger was initially reluctant to comment on the results as a win Wed-nesday.
He was happy with the unofficial turnout, though, because voters in his zone did not support the recent supplemental levy, he said. Therefore, he was unsure if his candidacy would garner support from constituents in his area.
"I would like to thank all of the supporters, most of which I didn't even know, who came out to support me," Suppiger said. "... The outpouring of support for me in this election from patrons and volunteers was incredible."
Suppiger is the founder, owner and manager of Panhandle Forest Products. He and his wife, Sally, reside in Cocolalla and his three children attended public school in the district. He has volunteered at Sagle Elementary as a math coach for 12 years and has served on district committees for levies, budgets, curriculum and parent district coordinating.
In Zone 3, Williams came out ahead of Victoria Zeischegg 563-168.
Williams is the vice president of Sandpoint Title Insurance, where he has worked since graduating from Gonzaga University in 2009. He and his wife Katie both attended school in the district.
"First of all, I'd like to give a big thank you to all of my supporters," Williams said. "I'm honored to have been elected and eager to serve the community. I think the message was sent by the voters that our constituents are overwhelmingly in favor of our position to continue to progress our schools."
Kelly, who recently stepped down as county commissioner, took the lead over his opponent, Anita Perry, 765-114.
"I'm very pleased with how the election came out and I'm looking forward to the next four years on the board," Kelly said. "I want to thank all my supporters and everybody who voted for me. Even those who did not, I want to assure them that we will strive forward and make it the very best school system that we can."
Kelly and his wife, Mona, moved to Bonner County 24 years ago and have two children, five grandchildren and a dog. All five grandchildren attended public schools in Sandpoint.
Perry said she expected a better voter turnout Tuesday. There are about 3,500 registered voters in her zone, she said, and only 879 turned out. Historically, though, she said she believes trustee elections are not a high priority for voters.
"That is not the most important thing on their horizon," she said. "I wish it had been better."
She said the candidates attended several forums and radio interviews, all of which were "informative to the public."
"I think we did more than I can recall any other school board trustees did in previous elections," Perry said. "Hopefully we will get better turnout in the future."
Zeischegg said she would have like to see more people head to the polls in her zone Tuesday as well.
"I am very disappointed in the low voter turnout," Zeischegg said in an email to the Daily Bee Wednesday. "I wish Mr. Williams the best as he serves the citizens of LPOSD Zone 3."
Miller was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
The three positions are being vacated by board chairman Steve Youngdahl, who represents Zone 5, is leaving, as well as Zone 2 trustee Matt Mire and Zone 3 trustee Joan Fish. The elected trustees will be sworn in during the district's annual meeting in July.
In other election news, the Pend Oreille Hospital District had five openings and five candidates, four of which were incumbents. The incumbents include Jim Frank, Bart Casey, Tim Cochran and Shawn Woodward. Dan Rose was the only candidate not already serving on the board. The unofficial results indicate Frank had 1,383 votes, Casey had 1,567 votes, Cochran had 1,649 votes, Rose had 922 votes and Woodward had 1,644.
The East Bonner County Library District had three positions to fill, with Judy Meyers running against Gilbert Beyer for a two-year term; Jeanine Asche was unchallenged for a four-year term, and Joan Terrell and Susan Shea vying for a six-year term. Meyers came out ahead 1,265-772; Asche garnered 1,793 votes; Shea lead 903-833 over Terrell.
On the other side of the county, in the West Bonner County School District, Zone 4 incumbent Sandy Brower was challenged by David Sears. It was a tight race with only 142 votes cast, but Brower will continue on as Zone 4 trustee with 77 votes; Sears garnered 65 votes.
In the Priest Lake Library District, Barbara Benscoter and Nancy Bushman vied for a six-year term on the board of trustees, and Rosemary Yocum was unchallenged for two-year term. Bushman came out ahead of Benscoter 57-22, and Yocum garnered 49 votes.
Mary Malone can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.