By Charles Sercombe
Two incumbent school boardmembers lost their bid for re-election to two newcomers in Tuesday’s election.
The results also usher in a historical moment for the school district and the city: The new makeup of the school board will now consist of a Muslim majority.
That development mirrors what has happened in the city council as well.
School Boardmembers Hedy Shulgon, a 13-year veteran, and Jackie Starr, who has served for two years, were ousted by Moortadha Obaid and Showkat Chowdhury.
Obaid has not run for public office before but Chowdhury had previously run for city council without success.
Hamtramck has long been known as a Polish enclave, but the city’s population makeup has changed dramatically toward those of the Muslim faith in the last several years.
That development has attracted national and international media attention. The school board election will no doubt attract more media focus.
Boardmember Salah Hadwan ran unopposed to fill a partial term of four years. Hadwan ran as a slate mate with Obaid and also endorsed Starr.
Obaid also received support and endorsement by School Board President Magdalena Srodek and Boardmembers Evan Majors and Hadwan. They also endorsed Starr, but not Shulgon.
Tuesday’s turnout was huge, with 6,626 voters participating – about 50 percent of the registered voters. That number was similar to the turnout four years ago for President Obama’s second term.
Federal monitors were on hand here as well as in Detroit and Dearborn Heights to make sure there was no voter intimidation.
City Clerk August Gitschlag said there were no significant issues during the day.
The elections results for two seats with a full, six-year term were:
*Moortadha Obaid: 2,199 – top winner
*Showkat Chowdhury: 1,665 – top winner
Jackie Starr: 1,393
Hedy Shulgon: 888
Renee Savage: 837
Jeff Salazar: 657
Lamont Stinson: 320
School Boardmember Salah Hadwan, who ran unopposed for a partial four-year term, received 2,979 votes.
Hadwan, Obiad, Chowdhury and Ataur Khan will now consist of a Mulsim majority on the school board — a first for the district. There is also a Muslim majority on city council.