Incumbents Betty S. Wilson and Frank Fenton said strong support for them in Tuesday night's Beverly Hills election was a vote of approval for the school board's current policies.
Fenton and Wilson captured two of the three open seats in the the race, which featured seven candidates. Incumbent Mark Egerman's decision not to run is thought to be one of the reasons why the race attracted so many candidates.
Unofficial returns from all 13 precincts show Fenton in first place in the balloting with 2,451 votes. Peggy Elliott Goldwyn won her first term on the school board with 2,231 votes, Wilson came in third with 2,134 votes, Sharon Flaum placed fourth with 1,674 votes, Sheffy Eloul received 921 votes, John R. Hineline received 138 votes and Phillip Scheid received 138 votes.
"I feel terrific," Wilson said. "It shows that we have done a really good job, it validates our efforts and it also shows that the (teachers) union is a little out of step with the community."
The Beverly Hills Education Assn., which represents the district's 300 teachers, sought to unseat Fenton and Wilson by throwing its support behind Flaum, Goldwyn and Eloul. It was the first time the union endorsed candidates in a local election.
Goldwyn, a television and movie writer, said that she hopes to "create a better atmosphere for communication between parents, teachers and administrators in the district." She said that she hopes to work toward improving the efficiency of the district and finding alternative means of raising money.
Fenton and Wilson campaigned on their records. They cited the recent signing of a three-year teachers contract, an agreement by the city to increase its yearly contribution to the district to $4 million and the selection of a new superintendent as major contributions.
"I think the victory means that the voters feel that Frank (Fenton) and I have made the district a better place than when we found it," Wilson said.
Fenton agreed. "You work hard for four years and the people have demonstrated that they approve of what we have accomplished," he said.
'No Negative Issues'
With four more years on the board, Fenton said he would now like to focus on educational issues such as using the city's cable channel to broaden academic programs.
School board member Dana Tomarken said the victories showed that there were "no negative issues that could be used to hurt the incumbents" Wilson and Fenton.
School board member Fred Stern said that he viewed the election of Wilson and Fenton as a "vote of confidence in the school board."
He said the defeat of the parcel tax last spring to support the schools may have signaled a drop-off in community support but that the election of Fenton and Wilson signaled that such support was on the rise.
Despite her loss, Flaum said she plans to continue to work toward achieving her campaign goal to have a period of "healing" between teachers and the district.
More Parents Needed
She said she also plans to continue to work to establish a recreation center for the city's teen-agers.
"I worked very hard for this election. I thought I was going to win because I felt that I was the most qualified," she said. "I'm disappointed that we couldn't involve the parents of the community more. We did not see our young parents out there voting."
Flaum said that she regretted having signed the agreement along with the other candidates to limit campaign spending to $40,000.
"When I signed that agreement, I might have signed my own death warrant," she said, adding that she believes such limits give incumbents an unfair advantage.