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Busch defeats Chappell in state school board race

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, August 7, 2012, at 9:39 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, August 27, 2013, at 9:38 a.m.

Challenger Kathy Busch ousted incumbent Walt Chappell in the highly contested Republican primary for the 8th District state Board of Education seat.

Busch led throughout the night, holding on to a commanding lead from the onset.

According to unofficial Sedgwick County results, Busch had 9,301 votes to 5,926 for Chappell.

Interviewed early Tuesday night, Busch was pleased.

“We just saw the first set of results, so that’s pretty good,” Busch said. “I’m pretty pleased.”

The district covers much of Wichita and Sedgwick County. But final totals late Tuesday night showed Busch had held on to her big lead, taking 61 percent of the vote, compared to 39 percent for Chappell.

“I think it shows that voters are ready for a change in the board of education,” Busch said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

There were no Democratic candidates in the race. Busch, 60, is a retired assistant superintendent and principal. She taught science at Mulvane Junior High; was a biology teacher at Bishop Carroll; a science teacher at Pleasant Valley Middle School; a principal at Robinson and Coleman Middle Schools and Wichita Southeast; and an assistant superintendent for the Wichita school district.

Chappell, 70, was elected in 2008 as a Democrat but changed his affiliation last year. He owns an export and import trading business. In the 1970s, he served 10 months on a school board in California.

During his campaign, Chappell advocated that schools use cash reserves for operational expenses and use what funds they had on hand more efficiently.

Busch said adequate funding was essential for employing proper staff.

Only one other state board of education primary election was contested.

In the 6th District, Democrat Usha Reddi, a Manhattan teacher, lost to Carol Viar, an accountant and a member of the Southeast of Saline school board. Viar had 53 percent of the vote to Reddi’s 47 percent. Viar will challenge former state Rep. Deena Horst, R-Salina, in the November election.

Contributing: Associated Press

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com.

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