FARMINGTON — After a grueling race, voters appeared to have chosen incumbents Randy Manning and Christina Aspaas to return to their board seats on the Central Consolidated School Board.

Manning won about 70 percent of the 660 votes in District 1, according to the San Juan County Clerk's Office unofficial results Tuesday night. Those results are expected to be verified today.

Aspaas won about 52 percent of the 474 votes, according to the tally.

Both board districts are in the Kirtland area. Manning is from Kirtland, and Aspaas from Fruitland.

The race became heated, as expected by many voters, though neither incumbent took much part in the campaign fingerpointing. The majority of it was from other board members or district employees.

Aspaas has been a board member since she took over the District 4 seat from former board member Chad Wood, who resigned from his seat in September for personal reasons. Aspaas beat her opponent, Irene Blue Eyes Claw, to keep her seat.

Aspaas currently serves as the board secretary. She also is a single mother, an electrician for BHP Billiton, and a volunteer for United Way.

"A lot of people I have talked to have liked her," said Gary Montoya, Aspaas' uncle and a campaign supporter. "She sees things from a parent's perspective. She doesn't come across as a politician."

While Aspaas said she was nervous Tuesday, she also said the race was exciting and she looked forward to the future. She added that she will not breathe until the results are final.


"I'd rather put the students first, and I'm not going to do any favors for special interest groups," she said.

Manning, who has served on the board for more than two decades, said he was glad the race was over and simply wanted to focus on giving children a high-quality education.

"Kids have got to understand that this is what's going to get them through the future," Manning said.

Manning said he will work toward improving student and teacher assessments and also toward requiring that teachers continue their education to keep their certification.

Additionally, Manning wants to tap into the $16 billion that currently is in the state's permanent land grant fund and use it to improve the state's educational standards.

"I've been on the board for 20 years, and I keep hearing that we're saving it for our grandchildren. Well my grandchildren are in school now," Manning said. "Let's use it, and let's use it wisely."

The district's public school capital improvements tax also passed, according to the unofficial results. The property tax represents $2 per $1,000 of net taxable value of property.

The tax funds will go toward improving district buildings, grounds and equipment.