Pittenger finds school board re-election 'assuring'
By Elliot Mann
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
James Pittenger will again represent voters on the Rochester school board, as voters Tuesday night affirmed his re-election bid.
Pittenger received the largest support of the three incumbents up for re-election with 48 percent of the vote, or 20,230 votes. Challenger Jeff Kennelly came in second with 32 percent or 13,795 votes. Bill Moe finished third with 18 percent.
"I think its reassuring," said Pittenger, who watched much of the returns at the city-county Government Center. "There were, at least those who voted in my race, many who felt that I was doing a pretty good job."
Pittenger first took office in 2003 and faced stiff competition. Kennelly received the endorsement of the Rochester Education Association and garnered the most votes of any challenger.
"It’s always nice to see your name with more votes," Pittenger said Tuesday night as the first precinct numbers were released.
As the night continued, his lead never diminished.
After the final votes were tallied, Pittenger said improving communication between the community and the board needs to continue. The board is currently receiving "effective, two-way" communication through input sessions for the boundary committee meetings, he added.
His checklist of issues includes: continuing to close what Superintendent Romain Dallemand refers to as the "opportunity gap," looming budget cuts of at least $10 million and making sure Rochester schools have enough space for students.
Pittenger restated his support for the district’s five-year plan for raising student achievement. That plan has been linked to discord the district — many teachers support the work while others criticize it behind closed doors.
"I think it’s change from what we’ve been doing — not implying what we’ve been doing in the past has been bad — it’s just change from that," he said. "I think it’s change in the right direction."
Jeff Kennelly... 13,795