Urbana board president won't seek re-election

Urbana board president won't seek re-election

URBANA – As of Monday, the Urbana school district was still waiting for a candidate to pick up a petition to run in the April 17 election for the school board's seat in subdistrict one, which includes the rural areas in the north and east of the district.

The name of that candidate, however, is still a question mark.

Joyce Hudson, the current board president, said Monday she will not run for re-election. She has been on the school board since 1997.

With her children already in college, she said, "I feel like I'm not as effective because I'm not at the schools like I used to be."

Hudson said she felt the time she's spent on the board was well worth it.

"There's just so many wonderful rewards, and so many people that you meet," she said.

Some high points? "For me, it's been all of the wonderful projects that we have been able to do, the middle school renovation, the aquatic center ..."

For people considering a run, the job takes time and dedication, with about four to six nights of work a month "depending on what the issues are," Hudson said. "And if you're doing a referendum, oh my gosh, there's a lot of work."

Other spots up for re-election include subdistricts two, six and seven.

Three potential candidates have picked up petitions for district seven, which includes the Thomas Paine Elementary School area on the southeast side of the city. They include current school board Vice President John Dimit, former Urbana High School teacher Andy Wilk and Thomas Paine parent Tracy Heilman.

For subdistrict two, which includes the area around King Elementary School, Benita Rollins-Gay picked up a petition. Steve Summers picked up a petition for subdistrict six, which includes the Wiley and Yankee Ridge elementary schools area. Both currently sit on the board.

Positions in subdistricts three, four and five held by Ruth Ann Fisher, Cope Cumpston and Mark Netter, respectively, will not be up for re-election until 2009.

If no candidate enters the race for subdistrict one's seat, the board will appoint an area resident for a two-year term until the next election, said district spokeswoman Kathy Wallig. With each election, the board picks the president, she said.

Wallig encouraged people to run for the nonpartisan positions.

"Being a school board member certainly is a wonderful way to get involved in the life of the community," she said. "It's one of the very few bodies left in the United States that actually has local control over something."

Hudson said she's glad to have been part of that governing body, though she's ready for a break.

"It was definitely rewarding. I definitely wouldn't have done it for 10 years if it wasn't," she said. Besides, "it's not like I'm totally out of it, because I'm still on the Urbana Alumni Association."

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