Butler County’s most crowded school board race saw the return of two incumbents and one new face after Tuesday’s election votes were tallied.
What didn’t happen was the first election of a private school administrator to a governing board for a local public school system.
Incumbents Robert Weigel and Steven Isgro won re-election to Hamilton’s Board of Education and newcomer Laurin Sprague will join them.
Candidate Chris Mate, who is an assistant principal of curriculum and academics for the Catholic Badin High School in the city, lost in his historic bid to also win a seat on the Hamilton Board of Education.
Mate, who is a former employee of the city schools, came in fifth, according to unofficial vote totals compiled Tuesday evening by the Butler County Board of Elections.
Robert Weigel won the most votes, tallying 19 percent of the votes cast, followed by Isgro who won 18 percent.
Isgro said Hamilton Schools are improving — they recently scored improvements in 18 of 23 academic categories as measured by Ohio student testing — and it is an exciting time for the city school system.
“We have come so far and made some great progress and I’m excited about getting back to the board and continuing. We have dedicated teachers, administrators and staff,” said Isgro.
Sprague, a retired school administrator, won 13 percent of votes cast.
The political newcomer previously told the Journal-News “Hamilton is fortunate to have a very diverse student population that comes from a wide range of backgrounds.”
“Unfortunately, many of our students come to school lacking some of the skills necessary to be successful in school. The district needs to expand the preschool program so that it is available to all families and is integrated with Hamilton’s kindergarten and elementary curriculum,” said Sprague.
During the school board campaign, Mate had claimed he was the target of a “smear campaign” to discredit his candidacy via an email campaign conducted by an anonymous person.
The school board, which features one of the longest serving members in the region in Dr. Glenn Stitsinger, will swear in the three members to start their four-year terms in early January.
Stitsinger, who has been on the school board for 32 years, will be honored by officials of the Hamilton Schools and the city during an event later this month.