Besides electing three members of city council in November, voters in Harrisonburg will also be picking school board members. Unlike most years, the school board races seem to be more competitive than city council. There are three, four-year seats available and one, two-year seat up for grabs. As the school board is nonpartisan, none of the candidates will have a party affiliation listed on the ballot.
The five candidates for the three, four-year seats are: Nick Swayne (current vice chair of the school board who is seeking reelection), Tom Domonske (who is also hoping to be reelected), Deb Fitzgerald (the chair of the Harrrisonburg Democratic Party), Kaylene Seigle (the leader of the local Young Republicans), and Dany Fleming. Mr. Fleming, as you may recall from an earlier article, previously served on the school board, but lost his seat for representing a part of the city that he was not legally eligible to represent. When Kelley Rooney (who was elected in 2014) resigned her seat earlier this year due to relocation, the school board appointed Mr. Fleming to fill-in until a special election could be held. As mentioned, that seat with two years remaining is also up for election with Lauren Penrod and Bill Wilson vying for the one opening. Curiously, at one point Dany Fleming was apparently running for both the school board and also seeking a seat on city council. When I visited the local registrar’s office recently, I asked if it is legal for one candidate to run for these two offices at the same time, because it certainly isn’t permissible to serve on both city council and school board concurrently. However, Mr. Fleming did not win the Democratic nomination for city council at their meeting on June 13th and thus he ended his bid for that office.
Although school board races are typically low-key races and often uncontested in Harrisonburg, this year could prove considerably more interesting, especially given that we have both a Democratic and a Republican Party leader seeking office. It should be interesting to see what happens.