BY LINDSAY VANHULLE
TRAVERSE CITY — A former Traverse City commissioner led five other candidates for a spot on Traverse City's school board, and a local businessman appeared the likely winner of the second seat.
As of 11:10 p.m. Tuesday, Scott Hardy had earned 22 percent of the vote in Tuesday's general election, more than any other candidate. Erik Falconer, president of Traverse City-based financial advisory firm Falconer Group, was in second place with 20 percent.
Jennifer Schell Bonifacio, a local pediatrician, was in third with roughly 18 percent of the vote.
Other candidates included Cynthia Glines, a retired physician; Mary Marois, former director of the Michigan Department of Human Services in Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties; and Mary Jo McKay, a registered nurse and respiratory therapist at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City.
Hardy, a former city commissioner, said he thinks his experience in local government made the difference, particularly given current financial challenges.
"The other candidates were great, and they ran a great race," he said. "I know the process, and I know governance.
"We can't afford to take our foot off the pedal for a minute."
Falconer said he learned a lot while campaigning.
and is ready to work with other school board members to make good decisions for the district.
He was the top fundraiser among school board candidates, and also received an endorsement from the district's employee unions.
"I'm very thankful for the opportunity," Falconer said. "I'm ready to tackle this."