Mrs. K and Mrs. H take board seats |

Mrs. K and Mrs. H take board seats

Sally Hansen and Laura Kornasiewicz defeated Tom Clapper for the two available seats on the Aspen School District board yesterday.

Hansen received 1,468 votes with Kornasiewicz next at 1,332 votes. Clapper received 1,220 votes, according to unofficial results released by the Pitkin County clerk last night.

Hansen won six of the seven voting precincts, with Kornasiewicz taking Snowmass Village, her home precinct. Clapper finished last in all but one of the precincts.

Hansen learned about her victory at an election party with supporters. She said the results reflected the openness with which she ran her campaign.

“I am a strong listener,” Hansen said. “I’m also very fair, and I make good, informed choices. I think I was able to demonstrate that to voters through my campaign.”

Kornasiewicz, reached at her home in Snowmass, said her strong record of commitment to the school district was what won her the seat.

“Of the three candidates, I had the least name recognition,” she said. “But I think I am known and respected within the school community. That’s where my strength lies, and I think that’s what made the difference.”

Clapper, who from the beginning of the campaign attempted to distance himself from the other candidates, said his defeat was due primarily to campaign spending.

“I lost because the other two candidates spent a ton more money on their campaign,” he said. “You have to hand it to them ” they ran a better organized effort than me.”

On Oct. 22, two weeks before the election, the Times reported that Clapper had neither raised nor spent any money on his campaign. By the same date, Hansen had spent nearly $4,200 out of her own pocket, and Kornasiewicz had raised and spent around $1,750.

Kornasiewicz said the contested election benefited all three candidates.

“I think having three people run for two spots helped all of our campaigns,” she said. “It sharpened our focus and solidified our positions.”

The race for school board was relatively subdued, with the role of state-mandated testing, the future of experimental education, and the school board’s public relations providing the only markedly contentious issues.

From the outset of the race, Hansen and Kornasiewicz set themselves apart from Clapper’s anti-testing stance, both offering their reserved support of CSAPs. Although Clapper later softened his position, Hansen and Kornasiewicz were seen as the two candidates most likely to support the tests.

Clapper was the biggest supporter for experimental education, but both Hansen and Kornasiewicz had novel ideas for strengthening the program, including Kornasiewicz’s suggestion of including classes for high schoolers at the Aspen campus of Colorado Mountain College

All the candidates agreed that the school board needed to improve its relationship with the public, although each candidate proposed different ways to enhance communication.

Augie Reno, the former school board president whose term ended this week, said the school board will benefit from the voters’ decision.

“It was a good election,” he said. “I feel confident our new board will greatly strengthen the school district.”

[Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is]

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