Businesswoman Sharon Lo Drucker cruised to a victory in the only contested race for a seat on the St. Tammany Parish School Board, outpacing IT consultant Shane Hodgson 64 percent to 36 percent, according to complete but unofficial results from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website.
Drucker earned 4,235 votes to 2,337 for Hodgson, the website shows.
The two were vying to become the first representative of the newly created District 9 in and around Madisonville, which has seen explosive growth over the last several years.
The schools in the district are crowded, and both candidates stressed the need for the school system to accommodate the growth, with both saying that a new school is needed. Madisonville doesn’t have its own high school — students from the Madisonville Junior High are sent either to Mandeville High or Covington High School depending on where they live.
In addition to the growth, Drucker said the board will have to continue to tackle issues arising from the implementation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative — a set of standards adopted by BESE several years ago but only fully implemented this year. Common Core has been controversial in St. Tammany Parish, as angry parents have at times crowded school board meetings to complain about what they say are confusing and inappropriate teaching materials.
Last month, the St. Tammany Parish School Board voted to remove Eureka Math, a Common Core-aligned math curriculum, from the parish’s schools by the end of the year.
Drucker has also said that the parish’s students must be prepared to compete with students not just from other parts of the United States, but from all over the world.
The race was the only of the 15 School Board seats that was contested. An earlier race for the District 6 seat ended when Mike Rivault dropped out after learning that as a full time state employee — Rivault works for Southeastern Louisiana University — he was not permitted to hold elected office.
A third seat, held by Ray Alfred for six terms, will be contested in a special spring election after Alfred passed away in September, after having qualified to run for his seat. Alfred was unopposed. Until that special election can be held, his post will be filled by his father, Anthony Alfred.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter @faimon.