Late entry wins despite absence from the ballot

Posted: November 6, 2013

The Winchester Star

Write-in candidate Chuyen Kochinsky will fill the Berryville District seat on the Clarke County School Board. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)

BERRYVILLE — Write-in candidate Chuyen Kochinsky will represent the Berryville District on the Clarke County School Board.

Kochinsky, 41, of Montgomery Court received 43.9 percent of the ballots with 339 votes in Tuesday’s election.

She defeated Roberta Lasiter, who had 33 percent with 255 votes, and George Archibald, who received 23 percent with 178 votes.

“I admire them,” Kochinsky said of her opponents, “but I think what happened were our views were different and our messages different. People respond more toward me than them.”

The Berryville District has 1,867 registered voters.

Kochinsky said she spent more than 12 hours — from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. — on Tuesday shaking hands and handing out slips of paper with her name.

She said she must now become the voice of the citizens.

 

“Now I have to deliver,” she said, adding that serving on the board is a “privilege.”

The Berryville seat was left vacant after the departure of James Brinkmeier, who moved to Frederick County this fall. Kochinsky will finish Brinkmeier’s four-year term, which began in January 2012.

Archibald said he was disappointed, not disgruntled about Tuesday’s results.

In an email, he wrote:

“I gave it my best shot in a complicated race apparently won by a late-entry write-in candidate who did not declare her candidacy against me and the other ballot-qualified candidate until Oct. 15.

“Both other candidates received more votes, but I remain firmly committed to the focus of better literacy for all children and improved management and budget integrity, and shall stay involved in the process as things move forward.”

Archibald said he would file a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to campaign finances.

Lasiter said she wishes Kochinsky the best. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to run, but the community chose another candidate.”

Kochinsky was born in Vietnam and came to America when she was 3. She has three children in the school division.

One of her main goals is to improve communication among the division, parents and the School Board. She would also like to see summer school reinstated and to see a partnership develop between local businesses and the division to create internships and opportunities for students.

Kochinsky wants to enhance safety and security in schools and fill the needs of the children who fall in the “middle” by creating an after-school mentoring/tutoring program.

In addition, she said a tracking system, in which the division follows up on graduates and their post-high school careers, could identify potential areas of improvement for the division.

School Board members are paid about $100 a month, while the chairman receives $115.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at rlayne@winchesterstar.com