Sunday, April 22, 2018
Education

Luikart easily wins second term on Pasco School Board

Pasco School Board vice chairman Steve Luikart handily won a second term on Tuesday, holding steady all evening at just over 70 percent of the vote against challenger Marc Yacht.

Luikart, a retired high school assistant principal, said he was gratified by the public belief in him.

"I will continue to be me," he said. "If I see something wrong, I will speak out about it. That's why they elected me."

He ran a low-key campaign, at one point spending a week vacationing in the Keys, returning in time to attend a School Board meeting.

He also paid little attention to the usual political rule of avoiding controversy before the balloting, as he proposed a radical overhaul of the district's student-athlete transfer policy. His recommendation would ease the restrictions on sports participation for students whose parents move into new high school zones between academic years.

He met Tuesday with superintendent Kurt Browning, who opposes his plan, to discuss the matter further. Luikart said he has no plan to back off.

Luikart's re-election bid found support among county notables including County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, real estate agent Dewey Mitchell, and state Sen. Wilton Simpson, as well as several contractors that do business with the district.

Yacht, by contrast, received few contributions and had limited public visibility beyond candidate forums. He attended few board meetings and wrote opinion pieces that ran in small publications.

Even as the campaign began, Yacht acknowledged his chances were slim and called Luikart an "excellent guy." They shared views on several issues.

Still, Yacht said, he wanted to provide an alternative to voters, saying he would offer a loud voice for better funding of public schools and other topics. Luikart praised him for running a positive campaign, and said he held Yacht in high regard.

Incumbents Allen Altman and Cynthia Armstrong also won re-election this summer, without opposition. Their names did not appear on the ballot.

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