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Votes

City School Board Gets New Member

Mayor and City Council composition remains the same after May 4 election.

If a lesson was to be learned on Election Day in Fairfax City, it was that every vote matters. Newcomer and School Board candidate Julie Knight earned a seat on the city's School Board, displacing current School Board member Jon Buttram by eight votes, according to unofficial results. Knight had 1,103 votes, while Buttram had 1,095.

"This is one of the great examples of where every vote does count," said City Council member Scott Silverthorne, who will continue to serve on the City Council for the next two years.

The change in composition within the five-member School Board received the greatest attention in an otherwise quiet race. Fairfax mayor Rob Lederer, who ran unopposed, will continue for another two-year term, while Council members Joan Cross, Jeff Greenfield, Gail Lyon, Gary Rasmussen, Silverthorne and Patrice Winter also were re-elected by citizens.

CITY COUNCIL and School Board candidate Jerry O'Dell received 379 votes for City Council and 269 votes for School Board.

As for the School Board race, School Board members Allen Griffith, Janice Miller, Courtney Robinson and Penelope Rood will continue serving the city for another two years, while Buttram lost his seat to Knight. Another School Board candidate, Karen Bryan, received 846 votes.

"Unbeknownst to my wife, I may have more time for fishing this summer," joked Buttram as he received the final tallies.

He continued, thanking fellow School Board members and citizens, "I can't help to think how fun it's been to be on the Board. ... I'll just make it clear, you haven't seen the last of me."

Knight said listening to the advice of her children and their peers helped her in her campaign. One child had told her that it did not matter if she won or lost; what mattered was if she came out alive.

"I'm looking forward to serving with you and working on the School Board," Knight told the crowd that had gathered at Old Town Hall after polls closed.

Although School Board candidate Bryan also lost the election, she said she plans to run again in two years, and next time perhaps knock on more doors.

"I liked the idea that I got to get up and close with the School Board members," said Bryan, who is also the outgoing PTSA president at Daniels Run Elementary. As for running against the other candidates, she said, "I never got the sense that we were running against each other. ... We all had the same bottom line: We do care about the schools in Fairfax City."

When asked why the School Board race had the outcome it did, Bryan replied that at first, she thought the incumbents would win, reasoning that citizens would want the current School Board to push through possible renovations to Fairfax High School and Lanier Middle School, pending the passage of the November bond referendum. But the recent boundary adjustment between students for Providence and Daniels Run elementaries might have brought more citizens out to vote, many of whom were dissatisfied with how the adjustment had occurred, she said.

"The boundary issue engaged the community, good or bad," said Bryan.