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S'side school board races too close to call

Voters in the Sunnyside School District were undecided on the future of the school board as all three contested races remain close.

All three are being decided by less than 100 votes, with only 35 percent of the 6,585 ballots counted to date.

In the school board's District 1 race, incumbent Larry Pangle was losing by just 51 votes-983 to 932-to challenger Rocky Simmons.

"It's just a matter of wait and see," said Pangle. "Hopefully by the end of this week we'll have a better idea of the outcome."

Only a margin of 86 votes separate longtime District 2 incumbent Joanne Kilian and challenger Mary Rita Rohde.

"I was a little concerned to begin with," Kilian said of her narrow lead. "But people know I've been involved and want us to keep on keeping on." Kilian said

She added that this is the closest contest in her 28 years on the school board.

So close, in fact, it's too close to call, according to Rohde.

"I'm still hopeful there might be a reprieve for our campaign," she said. "I'm heartened by the large number of people who worked so hard on my campaign."

Rohde said that, whether or not she is elected, the issues raised by the campaign of more parental involvement and concerns over the amount of testing will continue.

"Whether I'm on the board or not, we'll work on those issues," Rohde said.

The margin is even slimmer for the District 3 race where incumbent Lorenzo Garza, Jr leads challenger Susanna Zamarron by 59 votes, 966 to 907.

"Hopefully I'll be able to maintain the lead," said Garza.

Two other Sunnyside School District incumbents, Stephen Carpenter and Miquel Puente, ran unopposed.

But the slim margins in the three races indicate the public isn't content with the status quo, noted Garza.

"I'm definitely going to reach out to the community and try to find out what else I can do to find support," he said. "We're doing some excellent things in the school district, but the community may be frustrated that we're moving too slow."

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