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Four incumbents easily win reelection in District 196 board race

With much of the tension from Tuesday's school board election gone early, board members and district staff spent as much time checking in on levy questions in other districts as they did tracking their own returns.

Incumbents Jackie Magnuson, Rob Duchscher, Joel Albright and Bob Schutte led from the time superintendent Jane Berenz reported the district's absentee ballots shortly before 8:15 Tuesday night and their leads only grew as the rest of the results started to roll in.

By the end of the night, all four incumbents had at least 1,000 more votes than their nearest challenger.

The district held a special workshop Tuesday night to watch the election results. All four incumbents attended, as did new board member Gary Huusko and several staff members. None of the three challengers attended.

With results projected on a screen at the front of the room, audience attention bounced back and forth between the district's own totals and results for other districts that were asking voters to approve new or renewed funding.

District 196 did not have a levy on the ballot this year, but it has made several million dollars in budget adjustments in recent years, and there was brief discussion about adding a levy to this year's ballot, though the idea never received any serious discussion. This year board members cheered for districts where levies appeared likely to pass and worried for those where the vote was closer.

In District 196, where seven candidates competed for four available seats, there was little cause to wonder about results. When the time the final tally had come in Rosemount resident Jackie Magnuson was the top finisher with 2,583 votes, Joel Albright was second with 2,408, Bob Schutte was third with 2,405 and Rosemount resident Rob Duchscher was fourth with 2,402.

Among the three challengers, Steven Butler led with 1,235, followed by Gary Krueger with 1,200 and Fay Coggshall with 992.Duchscher, who said he was nervous going into election day, said he was "elated" to win another term on the board.

"I really wanted to do another four years," he said. "I love this district."

Duchscher, who won his fourth term on the board, said the results are an indication that residents are satisfied with the way the board has handled some challenging times in recent years. The district's budget is balanced and test scores are regularly better than averages statewide.

Magnuson, the current board chair who was first elected in 1989, said much the same.

"It's nice to know the community thinks we're doing the right thing," she said. "We've really got good momentum in this district."

Schuttee was first elected in 1987 and Albright was first elected in 2003.

The district was already guaranteed to have one new face on the board for the next two years. Board members voted late last month to name Apple Valley Huusko to the board to replace the departed Kevin Sampers. But that was apparently enough change for voters.

The results of Tuesday's election will not be official until the board accepts them. That vote will take place at the board's regular meeting Monday at Dakota Ridge School.