GARY | New members have won seats on the Gary Community School Corp. board.
It appears Antuwan Clemons will replace Darren Washington in an at-large seat. Washington announced several weeks ago he did not plan to run for re-election to his seat.
Shortly before 10 Tuesday night, Lake County Election officials said it was a close race in District 1 where incumbent Barbara Leek faced three challengers. Leek lost her seat to Doretha Rouse by a slim margin.
In District 2, Robert Campbell challenged write-in candidate James Piggee, and Campbell won. School Board member Marion Williams was unopposed for his District 4 seat.
All the board candidates focused on the school budget during the race, and the ongoing concerns over having enough money to run the district. Candidates also expressed concern over the bus transportation issues where students were not picked up on time or at all. However, most of the candidates said they also want to give new Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt an opportunity to correct the problems.
School administrators assured teachers they had enough money to meet payroll through the end of the year but have to cut another $4.8 million from the 2013 budget.
Pruitt has been working closely with administrators to determine the best course of action. The district has cut hundreds of teachers and administrators, as well as about 25 positions in the central office. Pruitt has said more cuts are in the offing.
The district also is looking at a plan to sell some of its shuttered school buildings to fund repairs and renovations of schools that are open.
Late last month, the School Board had accepted the donation of the Gary bank building at 504 Broadway. Administrators talked about moving the central office from 620 E. 10th Place to downtown Gary. The deal fell through, however, when the district failed to close on the deal Friday.