Hope, DiPrima, Ross all hold seats; Hotop ousted
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The closest race of the night was for the fourth and final board seat on the Fort Madison School Board.
Incumbent Lois DiPrima edged Jared Hotop by 10 votes for the fourth most votes on the evening. The slim margin of 984 to 974 could prompt a recall by Hotop.
Josh Wykert was defeated in last year’s special election after being put on the board to replace Gayla Young who died at the beginning of 2018, but was overwhelming approved by voters Tuesday with 1,166 votes of approximately 1,500 district residents voting.
Dianne Hope was the top vote getter with 1,282.
“I guess I hope it would be the work I’ve done,” she said explaining the large support. “That I’ve been here for so long and people know me and I’ve been out there in volunteer situations. I kind of hope it’s both,” she said.
She said she was impressed with the larger voter turnout and attributes it to the combination of city and school elections, as well as people being tuned in to what’s going on in the school district.
The plan is to continue doing what’s best for the district’s students, she said.
“I just want to stay on the same course. We’re working for the kids and working to ensure all the students are given the best educational opportunities we can,” Hope said.
“We’re working hard to solve the facility issues and we have to keep our eye on finances.
“I do want to thank everyone that came out to vote. It’s humbling to see how many votes I did get and I thank every one of the people that voted for me.”
Wykert said the day was a whirlwind of anticipation and anxiety.
“I really don’t know how presidential candidates do it. I’m exhausted. But I’m excited to get things going. I’m really just kind of in awe right now.”
He said there have been some things on the board that have created some controversy and he said that brought people to the polls, but joining it with the city election also helped bring people out.
The board only changed by one person, but Wykert said the makeup has a good mix and should be an effective board.
“To me it looks good. I think voters couldn’t have gone wrong with any of the six candidates,” he said.
“We have financially minded people – you’ve got educators – parents, and that’s a really good mix. Seeing the votes split the way they did, voters didn’t think one thing over the other.”
Carol Ross was re-elected with 1,086 votes, the third highest total. Candice Smrt received 567 votes on the night.