Collier School Board incument Linda Abbott ousted

election_2008

Voters made their feelings about the Collier County School Board’s behavior in the past year abundantly clear Tuesday.

Voters rewarded District 2 incumbent Kathleen Curatolo, who voted against the firing of then-Superintendent Ray Baker, with a second term.

Curatolo received about 56 percent, compared to her rival Rick MacClugage, who received about 44 percent.

But School Board Chairwoman Linda Abbott didn’t fare so well. Abbott spent three terms on the board. During that time, she voted to fire a superintendent and support privatizing custodial services.

Voters in Tuesday’s nonpartisan contest elected to make a change.

In the District 4 race, none of the six candidates was able to capture 50 percent plus one of the vote. As a result, the two highest vote-getters will move on to the general election Nov. 4.

Gulf Coast High School teacher Julie Sprague, who received about 39 percent, will participate in a runoff with Joe Paterno, executive director of the Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board, who received about 30 percent.

Abbott had about 14 percent to finish third. She couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

“It’s awesome,” Sprague said Tuesday night. “I would rather it be 50 percent of the vote, but it has just been an incredible day from beginning to end.”

Paterno was equally thrilled.

“I am glad to be in the top two,” he said. “I look forward to another two months of campaigning and trying to convince the people who voted for the other candidates to vote for me.”

MacClugage said he was disappointed.

“I thought it would be closer,” MacClugage said. “... People spoke, people want what they want.”

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