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Whaley stays on board with primary win // SCHOOL BOARD

Republican School Board incumbent Marge Whaley won a second four-year term Tuesday, defeating challenger Kathy Livermore.

"It's so exciting. Today was wonderful," Whaley said, mentioning that John Long was sworn in as school superintendent earlier in the day and she looks forward to being part of a "new era" in Pasco schools.

"I'm of course grateful to the voters," Whaley said. "I thought we were headed in the right direction and this confirms that."

No Democrats entered the race for the District 2 School Board race, so Tuesday's primary decided who won the seat.

Contacted at the Land O'Lakes supervisor of elections office, Livermore said she will continue to work for change in Pasco schools.

She emerged as a critic of Pasco public schools a year ago when she campaigned against a sales-tax referendum that would have raised money for school construction and renovation. Livermore contends that schools should improve student performance before asking taxpayers for any more money.

"I'm not going to leave the educational issue," she said. "I'll still be a parent advocate, which is what I had been before I made a run for it."

Whaley has emphasized the need for the district to improve communications with the public. Last year, she began a campaign to improve the district's image, saying she heard many untrue comments and misconceptions about Pasco schools from voters who rejected the sales-tax increase.

She said then that she thought the district needed a marketing strategy. Leadership Pasco, a civic group composed of county business leaders, eventually offered to help the district prepare such a strategy.

Whaley, who oversaw Pasco's health services and programs for 17 years, is an advocate of the full-service school concept. Such schools offer a wide range of health and academic services to students and families.