Voters rejected every Republican candidate seeking a seat on the Central Bucks School Board Tuesday, sweeping in a Democratic majority for the next four years.
The battle for control of the nine-member school board captured national attention, as controversies over COVID policies, LGBTQ+ rights, removal of library books and parental involvement created more than two years of volatile meetings and community protests.
With 42% voter turnout and registration between Republicans and Democrats separated by less than 1%, three Democrats won their seats by less than 10%.
In Region 8, Susan Gibson beat Tony Arjona by a considerable 38%. In Region 2, where current school board president Dana Hunter was running, her challenger, Heather Reynolds, won by just 290 votes.
“Those victories are outstanding,” said Tracy Suits, chairperson of CB Neighbors United, which supported the Democratic slate, noting that in Region 2, Republicans had a “significant” registration advantage. Each region has more Republicans than Democrats.
Suits, a former CB school board president, said the Democratic wins indicate that voters from both parties “truly want a nonpartisan school board.”
“Our message of compassion and common sense resonated,” said Suits on Wednesday. “People are looking for leaders who will serve with humility.”
Efforts to reach several Republican candidates were unsuccessful Wednesday.
Spending in the school board race in the state’s fourth-largest school district was considered unprecedented. At least $200,000 came from several PACS managed by Paul Martino, founder of Bullpen Capital, according to campaign finance documents.
Martino’s wife, Aarati Martino, lost her bid for a school board seat to Democrat Rick Haring in Region 6.
The board’s Republican Vice President Leigh Vlasblom and fellow Republican Sharon Collopy, did not run for reelection, nor did Democrat Tabitha Dell’Angelo.
Last week, a Bucks County court rejected the school district’s realigned voting regions map, favoring one offered by CB Fair Votes, a grassroots organization led by Suits.
As a result of the decision, beginning in 2025, CBSD will have three voting regions, rather than the nine currently in place.
Had the districts’ proposed map not been disrupted by the challenge, Suits said, more than 2,000 voters would have been unable to vote Tuesday.
Voting results showed 937 New Britain Borough voters and 1,152 Doylestown Township voters would have had to wait two years to elect a school board director, Suits said.