On 3-2 votes, school board chooses the same leaders

Majority rules.

The tenet was apparent Monday night when the South Whidbey Board of Education re-elected its leadership for another term. It was also objectionable, at least for one board director.

By a 3-2 margin, Ray Gabelein Jr. was re-elected president and Barbara Schneeman will serve again as vice president in 2003.

The vote, which split along well-established lines among board members, angered director Helen Price Johnson, who nominated fellow board member Bob Riggs first for president, then for vice-president. After the officer selections were official, Price Johnson blasted Gabelein, Schneeman and director Jim Adsley for voting as a block.

"The three folks to my left have each had a minimum of two years serving in leadership as a member of our board, and I believe it is time for that stranglehold to change," she said.

Price Johnson lashed out at the three, saying she was disappointed they would not share leadership responsibilities with others on the board. She hinted that the vote was indicative of deeper problems.

"I feel they paid lip service to the idea that our diversity is our strength, but have made no move to try to bring us together," Price Johnson said.

Quoting a country-western song, she said a little less talk and a lot more action would signal a desire from the others to work as a team.

Her disappointment was apparently shared by members of the public and district personnel at the meeting, who applauded her statement.

Before Gabelein adjourned the meeting he noted that everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

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