In absentee ballot counting this Friday afternoon (10-9-15), Pook outpolled challenger Kat Richards, 153 votes to 108, to win the second seat on the School Board — by an overall total of 42 votes.
The two candidates were in a near-dead heat after ballot counting Tuesday night. Kat Richards held a slim lead of just 3 votes.
“I reflected back on that night when it was so close between Kat and I, and I said I wasn’t going to stress over it, but today I just had to let it go, let it go, let it go. I had to myself to just give it up because there were so many votes still out.”
Election workers counted about 380 absentee and question ballots. The races for the two assembly seats and the other school board seat were unaffected. Matt Hunter will go to the assembly for a second term, joined by newcomer Bob Potrzuski. Eric Van Cise will begin his first term on the school board.
Cass Pook first joined the board in November, 2002. This will be her sixth term. Although this election was her first serious challenge, she’s optimistic about the number of candidates who showed interest in the board: seven applied to serve out the one-year remaining in Lon Garrison’s term, and there were four other candidates on the ballot for the three year seat.
Pook hopes that everyone — especially Kat Richards — will remain involved.
“I think Kat would have done just as well. She had a lot of good things to say. I hope that anyone who put their name in for the one-year and the three-year would put their names in to be on our committees, and advocate in that way for our kids to have a better education.”
Cass Pook says her first step once she returns to the board will be to re-apply for her seat on board of directors of the Alaska School Board Association, where she can advocate for Alaska Native issues and vocational education.
Her main goal on the Sitka School board remains closing the achievement gap between between ethnic and socio-economic student groups.