Incumbents, retired school worker win Cairo school election

Thursday, April 19, 2007

CAIRO, Ill. -- Cairo school board president Arnold Burris won re-election Tuesday with the help of absentee ballots.

Voters also re-elected Vernon Stubblefield and elected retired school district employee Mary Coleman to the board.

Burris, an Alexander County deputy sheriff, has served 16 years on the board. He was re-elected to a fifth four-year term, narrowly beating out Bobby Mayberry for the third and final spot on the board.

Burris trailed Mayberry, Alexander County's 911 coordinator, by 14 votes in the eight-candidate race late Tuesday night before the absentee ballots were counted.

Coleman was the top vote-getter with 591 votes. Stubblefield received 493 votes followed by 457 for Burris. Mayberry collected 429 votes, losing to Burris by 28 votes.

Torey Purchase finished with 334, followed by Cairo city clerk Erica Wells with 329 votes; Delbert Irish, 228; and Owen Terry Jr., 158.

Burris didn't return telephone calls Wednesday. But he said late Tuesday night that he expected the absentee votes to go his way.

Stubblefield said he was pleased to win re-election. But he said Wednesday that he didn't view the election results as an endorsement of any particular policy or direction of the school board.

Even with the election, there's still a vacancy on the board. Joe Griggs resigned from the board last month.

Stubblefield said the school board now will appoint someone to fill out the remaining two years of Griggs' term.

The school board also will look to hire a new superintendent to replace Gary Whitledge, who announced a month ago that he was stepping down at the end of June.

335-6611, extension 123

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