Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Donelan `Affirmed' and It's Jones vs. Johnson

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Donelan `Affirmed' and It's Jones vs. Johnson

Article excerpt

In the Duval County School Board's most closely watched races,

Chairwoman Cheryl Donelan won a second term yesterday, while

board member Gwendola Jones headed to a runoff election.

Donelan, 42, beat three candidates who made her performance the

central issue in the campaign. She got a majority of the votes

in the District 3 race, preventing a runoff in November.

"I feel wonderful," Donelan said. "I feel like this is a true

affirmation from the community."

Jones, who also was seeking her second term, didn't fare so

well. She will face a runoff against former Raines High School

Principal Jimmie Johnson, who won the most votes yesterday in a

four-way race in District 5.

"We'll begin campaigning [again] in the morning," Jones, 60,

said with a sigh.

Johnson, 63, said he'd take a day off from campaigning before

starting all over again tomorrow. A runoff is necessary because

no candidate in the contest received more than 50 percent of the


"You always hope for the victory, but we'll settle for the

runoff," Johnson said.

With incumbents Stan Jordan and Billy Parker facing -- and

beating -- relatively unknown opponents yesterday, the races

involving Donelan and Jones were the board's most closely


Donelan's race, in particular, was considered pivotal because

its outcome could have changed the majority bloc on the board.

During the past two years, Donelan has frequently sided with

Jones and members Gwen Gibson and Susan Wilkinson on key issues

such as desegregation, sex education and school construction.

Jordan, Parker and Linda Sparks have often opposed the other


Donelan's opponents in the campaign, Rod Sullivan, Bill

Bosworth and Greg Youngblood, took positions that are similar to

Jordan, Parker and Sparks. If one of them had been elected, it

would have created a new majority on the board.

Sullivan, 40, offered the biggest challenge to Donelan during

the campaign and finished distant second yesterday. He

repeatedly criticized Donelan for what he saw as the board's

slowness in building schools and in going to court to try to end

a decades-old desegregation court order. …

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