In one of the most closely watched races for the Fairfax County School Board, Crosspointe resident Elizabeth "Liz" Bradsher won the Springfield District seat.
Bradsher, a community activist often credited with her work to get South County Secondary School built several years ahead of schedule, defeated Ramona Morrow for the seat. Current School Board member Cathy Belter will vacate the seat at the end of this year.
"I'm feeling pretty good," Bradsher said Tuesday night. "We're watching the races very closely, but we're feeling pretty good."
Unofficial results on Wednesday morning indicated that Bradsher won by more than 5,750 votes, receiving 15,444 votes, or 61.54 percent, to Morrow's 9,650 votes, or 38.45 percent.
Both women in this race were qualified for this position. Morrow has served as the president of the PTA at Lake Braddock Secondary School and Sangster Elementary as well as state-wide, in addition to being a director of the Fairfax District PTA and vice chair of the FCPS Superintendent’s Community Advisory Council.
Bradsher, perhaps best known for her role in working toward the construction of South County Secondary, has served as a liaison to the state PTA, as chair of the 2001 School Bond Committee for the Springfield District, as the secretary of the County Council of PTAs, and on various boards and committees in the Laurel Hill area.
Both women raised children in this area; Morrow now has a granddaughter at Sangster Elementary and Bradsher has two children at South County.
HOWEVER, MANY residents in the Springfield District have been watching this race closely because of the differences between the two women. Morrow is an outspoken opponent to No Child Left Behind testing and believes children are losing out and learning less from the regulations it has forced. Bradsher feels boundary studies, rampant in the Springfield District, do more harm than good for communities and students and believes the School Board has forgotten to listen to its constituents.
The seat was vacated by long-time School Board member Cathy Belter, who said last year she would not seek re-election for undisclosed health reasons.
In the end, Morrow said she just did not have the votes to defeat Bradsher.
"I feel like we did all we could," she said from her Springfield home Tuesday night.
Bradsher said she did not have a specific range in mind for her victory.
"I just wanted to win the best I could," she said.
THE FIRST ORDER of business for Bradsher will be examining the Capital Improvement Plan, the School Board's five-year funding program for renovations and new construction. She wants to see older schools, like West Springfield High School, on the list sooner for renovations instead of having to wait up to 20 years.
"Maybe it's time for the School Board to look at other ways of funding renovations, like public-private partnerships, grants or naming rights," Bradsher said. "We have a limited amount of money to work with and so many projects that need to be addressed."
She also wants to examine the transportation needs in the county in conjunction with the possibility of later start times for high school students.