The well-known 4-3 split on the Salt Lake Board of Education, born in the struggles over the controversial high school boundary decision, theoretically didn't evaporate with the election results.
But that's only on paper and the winners - incumbents and new board members alike - don't want to see it translated into action."I would like to see a healing. I don't see any need to have a split on a board. It (election) always changes the dynamics of the board. You still have a total of seven members, but the election gives everyone an opportunity to regroup and put things behind them," said incumbent Stephen G. Boyden, an attorney who has been a vocal spokesman for the board's minority.
Boyden breezed to a second term, pulling 61 percent of the vote to challenger Michael T. Walton's 38 percent in Precinct 5.
In Precinct 1, board president F. Keith Stepan outdistanced challenger Tab Lyn Uno, a former board member who doggedly campaigned for 18 months and spent $4,800 in his attempt to recapture a school board seat. Stepan spent $1,000.
Stepan, who won by 410 votes, said he's excited about the possibility that new players will give the board a new chance at cohesiveness.
Saying he "gave it my best shot," Uno plans to step out of school-district politics because, he said, he is mentally and physically exhausted.
Attorney Alan Mecham squeaked by friend and neighbor David Donohoo in Precinct 7, winning by only 38 votes in complete, but unofficial, results compiled by the Utah Election Service.
Donohoo said he will probably ask for a recount. If that is unsuccessful, the retired intermediate school teacher plans to save money for another try at a school board seat in four years.
Mecham replaces Carolyn Kump, who retired after 12 years and was a member of the board's minority. During the campaign, Mecham said he believed students should have been allowed to attend the school of their choice.
But he too hopes the turmoil and the divisiveness of the last two years are finished. "I hope it's all over, and the board can reach more of a consensus and be less polarized," said Mecham, who vowed to listen closely to his constituents.
In Precinct 3, unopposed Steven L. Olsen relaxed at home while other candidates waited out election returns. He ended up as the only candidate after the second-place finisher in the primary election officially withdrew after the primary. He said he hopes the board can move on to solid educational concerns such as educational programs at the intermediate level, teacher dissatisfaction and parental involvement.