WOODLAND PARK — Keegan Barkley, a newcomer candidate running for a seat on the Woodland Park School Board, is set to take over after her opponent and incumbent David Illingworth has conceded.
Barkley received 51% of the votes while Illingworth trailed with less than 49% of the votes. He said he conceded during last week's board meeting.
The races for the two other board member seats remain within one percentage point as of Friday night. Incumbent Cassie Kimbrell has received just over 50% of the votes while opponent and newcomer candidate Mike Knott has just over 49.5% of the votes. Incumbent Mick Bates has 50.3% of the votes over opponent Seth Bryant who has 49.7% of the votes.
The Teller County Clerk said all ballots have been counted as of 4 p.m. on Thursday and have been sent to the Secretary of State's Office for certification. The clerk said Teller County saw a voter turnout of 59% which is a lot higher than normal for an off-year election. In the most recent off-year election in 2021, the county saw a voter turnout of 40% and 45% in 2019. She said a likely reason for the high turnout was because of Prop HH and the contentious Woodland Park School Board race.
In early October, more than 80 teachers and staff of the Woodland Park School District (WPSD) urged the community to vote for the three newcomer school board candidates. They said around 40% of staff did not return to the district this year because of the current district leadership. The group of teachers said they are concerned with newsocial studies standardsand cuts to mental health funding approved by the school board and superintendent.
Stephanie Merl, a parent of a student at Woodland Park Middle School, said she hopes Barkley can bring more balance to the board, but is unsure what that will exactly look like.
"We are very hopeful it will change the tone of the board, at least maybe slow it down enough to where there are real conversations, real questions asked," she said.
After conceding to Barkley, Illingworth told News5:
"I'm pleased that Mick and Cassie won, ensuring that the school board will continue the good work of protecting kids and parental rights, and teaching knowledge to our kids, not the radical politics favored by the Colorado Education Association. Under the leadership of the conservative majority, the Woodland Park School Board will continue to represent Woodland Park voters, not teachers unions and their extremist agendas."
The Teller County Clerk said although the other two races are close, the current unofficial results will not trigger an automatic recount based on the state's recount formula.
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