Newcomers win seats in PB school board runoff


Newcomers won seats in the Zone 4 and Zone 6 runoff election for the Pine Bluff School Board Tuesday.

Complete but unofficial election results for Zone 4 saw Henry Dabner Jr. receive 104 votes or 75.36 percent; and Lee Meadows receive 34 votes or 24.64 percent.

With one overseas ballot outstanding, the unofficial results for Zone 6 saw saw Leon Jones Sr. receive 168 votes or 64.86 percent; and incumbent Donna Barnes receive 91 votes or 35.14 percent.

Tuesday’s runoff election saw the last of the five incumbents whose seats were contested in the Sept. 18 election defeated to complete a sweep of the seats by challengers.

Dabner was thankful to be given the opportunity to serve the residents of Zone 4.

“Right now it’s just humbling,” Dabner said shortly after learning of his victory. “I am so grateful to the people that elected me. They put their trust in me and I have a job to do for them. I will work with the members of the board and the business community to get the school system back on track. I look forward to working with Mr. Meadows who has agreed to share his ideas with me.”

Meadows said that he and Dabner had a conversation before the election results and agreed that it didn’t matter which of them won because they would work together to share thoughts and ideas on making the school district better.

“Anything that I can do to assist and help out I will do,” Meadows said. “My ideas are still available. We both have similar visions and values and we agreed that it is not about who wins or loses but about what we can do to help the district.”

Jones said that he was looking forward to working to improve the school district in cooperation with his fellow board members.

“First of all I want to thank God for all that he has done,” Jones said. “Next I want to thank all of the volunteers, including my wife, and everyone else who helped me in my campaign. I also want to thank the business community and the rest of the community for their support. I consider this a beginning and not an ending. I look forward to helping to change the tenor and the tone of the school district and the community and I look forward to working cooperatively with all stakeholders.”

Barnes said that she was thankful for her supporters and was glad to have been able to serve on the school board representing Zone 6 for the past three years.

“I want to thank the people in Zone 6 who came out and voted,” Barnes said. “Mr. Jones represents everyone in Zone 6 and I congratulate him.”

In the Sept. 18 school board election Phyllis A. Wilkins won the Zone 2 seat, defeating board member Ellen Nichol and Mark Essex-Smith; Piccola Washington won the Zone 3 seat, defeating board president Herman Horace; board secretary Freddie M. Johnson received the fewest votes in the three way Zone 4 race with Dabner and Meadows; board vice president Barnes and Jones received more votes than Carvis J. Campbell to move on to the runoff in the Zone 6 race; Andrea Roaf-Little won the Zone 7 seat, defeating board member Chandra Griffin and Johnny Smith Jr.