3 incumbents, new Republican win for school board

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The State Board of Education will look mostly the same when terms are renewed in January, but there will be a new face - and a new party - in the District 7 seat being vacated by Democrat Sandra Ray.

Republican Garry Warren of Haleyville narrowly defeated Democrat Earl Gardner of Florence to give the GOP an independent majority on the state education board.

Ray, of Tuscaloosa, did not run for re-election to the seat she's held since 1995.

There is currently a 5-4 Republican majority on the nine-member board when counting Gov. Bob Riley, but the members are otherwise split 4-4.

Sitting governors automatically serve as the board's president.

But Warren says the political majority isn't important to him and he only cares about improving education in Alabama.

Incumbents Republican Randy McKinney, Republican Stephanie Bell and Democrat Ella Bell were re-elected.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)