The field is set for the Manhattan-Ogden school board general election.
Top vote-getter Christine Weixelman and five others will be on the Nov. 2 ballot after Tuesday’s primary election results whittled the number of official candidates from 10 to 6. Voters selected up to three candidates in the primary election.
Weixelman, a registered nurse, had 2,425 votes, based on unofficial final results from Riley and Pottawatomie counties. She said she is humbled by the support, and that she was spending time with some friends Tuesday evening and not looking at her phone. When she finally did look, she said she had more than 50 messages from people about the primary.
“I don’t have a lot of fancy words for it,” Weixelman said. “I just really appreciate the support. It makes me smile. It’s a little overwhelming. … When I look back three months ago this is not where I really expected to be.”
Unofficial Riley County election results indicate a voter turnout of 13.6% for the primary. Weixelman said she would have liked to have seen a larger turnout.
“(The school board election) very much does affect everybody who lives here and pays taxes,” Weixelman said. “It affects all of us, so I would ask people to please pay attention long enough to cast a vote.”
Betty Mattingly-Ebert, owner of Paradoxx Design in Manhattan, had 2,270 votes. She said she is “thankful for all the support” received over the past seven weeks.
“The next step is to get back out and inform people what I stand for — our schools and our community,” Mattingly-Ebert said. “Manhattan residents want their voices heard, and I’m doing my best to do just that.”
Jayme Morris-Hardeman, executive director of Thrive! Flint Hills and former Manhattan city commissioner, had 2,222 votes. She didn’t respond to The Mercury’s request for comment.
Incumbent board member Karla Hagemeister had 2,093 votes. She said she appreciates everyone who took the time to vote in the primary.
“I remain focused on serving the district right now as we prepare to start the school year, and I hope to have the opportunity to continue that service for a second term,” Hagemeister said.
Steven Ruzzin, a data engineer, had 2,003 votes. He didn’t respond to The Mercury’s request for comment.
Teresa Parks, local activist and career transition readiness specialist for Flint Hills Job Corps in Manhattan, had 1,550 votes. She said she is “very excited and humbled” to make it through the primary.
“This opportunity to serve our children is an important task, and I want to make sure that I am an asset to the school district,” Parks said. “This responsibility is one that I won’t take lightly or for granted if I am elected and I hope to work with the other elected board members to the benefit of all USD 383 students.”
The candidates are seeking to fill three open seats on the USD 383 school board. Hagemeister is the only incumbent seeking re-election. Fellow board member Katrina Lewison and board president Jurdene Coleman are not seeking re-election.
The unofficial results indicate voters cast 4,751 ballots in the primary. That number could grow as more mail-in ballots are counted this week.
The following candidates are out of the race based on unofficial results:
- Jennifer Chua, a local volunteer, had 1,160 votes.
- Kevin Harms, Chief Warrant Officer 3 and Apache helicopter pilot at Fort Riley, had 495 votes.
- Carl Treece, a retired science teacher and Army medical service officer, had 342 votes.
- Bill Spiegel, a farmer and agricultural magazine editor, had 177 votes. Spiegel dropped out of the race in July because of a potential conflict of interest with his wife’s job at Varney and Associates. However, he remained on the ballot because he dropped out after the June 1 filing deadline.