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Election season is a wrap!
Scott Booth has won the race for retiring Neal Pendergrass’s Mountain Home Public Schools seat, defeating Scott Bryant by 226 votes. A total of 1,562 voters cast their ballot in the school district’s run-off election.
Voter turnout was dramatically lower during the runoff election, with Booth winning 894 (57.2%) votes to Bryant’s 668 (42.8%).
Booth initially had a substantial lead over his opponents on May 9’s election night, bringing in 2,447 votes (42.9%) to Bryant’s 1,926 (33.8%), but failed to cross the required 50% margin needed to win an election underneath Arkansas law. Stewart Rogers, the third candidate in the race on May 9, followed with a respectable 1,327 votes (23.3%).
Booth has served as one of the most outspoken school board candidates, often publishing long online posts on Facebook about his thoughts on the issues that the school district is facing. Some of his publishings have covered difficult topics such as teacher moral, the difficulty implementing the LEARNS Act, and more.
He has advocated for more community volunteerism and support within the Mountain Home School District and has floated the idea of replicating Baxter Health’s Yellow Army within the district to assist teacher workload.
“Helping the school district bring up the next generation is something many would jump at the opportunity to do,” Booth said in a long form social media post. “Mountain Home Public Schools needs to reach out to our community and establish a program similar to what our hospital does. These volunteers could assist our teachers and staff in almost unlimited ways, from standing the many duties our teachers currently stand, such as lunchroom duties, recess duties, to checking bathrooms, to helping nurses by escorting students to and from classrooms, to even possibly bus riders to help with issues such as bullying, the opportunities are nearly endless.”
Booth is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served for 11 years on active duty. His bio states that he was deployed several times. He currently operates a weight loss clinic in Mountain Home. During his youth, Booth attended a mix of private and public school education. He also was homeschooled for a short time period.
His wife, Allison Booth, works as an ophthalmologist at Baxter Health and Ozark Eye Center. She is an active surgeon. Booth has lived in Mountain Home for nine years.
The Booth family’s oldest child has finished up her first year at kindergarten in the Mountain Home school district. Their two younger children will be starting school in the district within the next few years.
“The decision to run for MHPS School Board is not something I took lightly. It is a contentious position; the current board has made many hard decisions, and there are many more difficult decisions ahead. My children will be in the school system for the next 15 years, and the decisions made will directly affect them and their education. There is a leadership principle that states: ‘Don’t ask someone to do something that you aren’t willing to do yourself.’ With that in mind, and my background of being a leader of Marines, being a business owner, and having a vested interest in the welfare of our school district, I could not sit back and say, ‘I’ll let someone else do this difficult job.’ I have chosen to step up and put myself as a candidate to the voters of the Mountain Home Public School District.”