- About Us
Northshore School Board / Challengers leading the way
“I think they (voters) wanted a board that will take the schools in a different direction,” said candidate Julia Lacey.
Lacey, along with Todd Banks and Sandy Hayes, should become, later this month, three new faces on the Northshore School District Board of Directors.
According to unofficial election results from King and Snohomish counties, Lacey and Banks upset incumbents Sue Buske and current board President Cathy Swanson.
The latest election figures available prior to deadline for this issue had Lacey leading Buske 13,478 ballots to 9,527. Banks was in front of Swanson, 12,993 to 9,973.
Hayes essentially won her seat some time ago, the only person to file to replace current board member Gene Hawkridge, who decided not to run for re-election.
Buske said she was somewhat surprised by the loss of both incumbents in the election, but said newcomers Lacey and Banks told the public what it wanted to hear, namely that there will be no further school budget cuts.
“The ugly truth is there will be budget problems this year, as well,” Buske said.
Largely blaming a lack of monetary support from Olympia, the board sliced roughly $6.4 million from the district budget earlier this year. They garnered plenty of attention after proposing to eliminate all junior high-school sports. Last month, the board voted to place three money issues on the February ballot, including a $169 million operations replacement levy.
All the candidates, including Lacey and Banks, have expressed support for passage of that issue, along with two capital improvement bond measures.
As she did during the election, once results were known, Lacey talked a lot about a supposed lack of communication between the public and the current board.
“There’s very much a disconnect between the schools and the community they serve,” she said.
“It amazes me that parents and teachers have the same complaints,” Lacey added, contending that rarely is the case.
In the course of the election, Banks also touched extensively on a supposed dearth of communication coming from the schools. He contended the board needs more transparency in its operations, that board meetings often seem to feature little debate, decisions apparently having been made in advance.
Regarding district finances, Lacey described passage of the February ballot issues, especially the operating levy, as vital. She described the thought of losing those operating dollars as “frightening.”
While he supported the coming ballot issues, Banks also feels the current board has focused too much on financial questions while issues such as improving the curriculum or attacking class sizes have fallen by the wayside.
The general manager of Kenmore Air, Banks said he felt the board could use someone with his business background.
“I’ve watched how they’ve navigated some things and thought I could give them a hand,” he said.
At a candidate forum held prior to the August primary, Hayes explained some of her basic stances and goals. Perhaps most importantly she named maintaining class size as her top priority if Northshore needs to undertake further budget cuts.
Like many at that forum, Hayes blamed many of the district’s money problems on a lack of state financial support. Hayes has expressed general support for the coming ballot issues, and in terms of readying herself to take a spot on the board, said she has been paying more attention to education news stories, particularly following the funding lawsuit filed against the state. She also said she intends to stay active in the PTAs at each of the three different Northshore schools attended by her children.
“I want to keep up with what people are talking and thinking about,” she said.
In the course of the election, Lacey promoted herself as a substitute teacher in the Edmonds school district. Allegations surfaced that she actually had spent very little time in Edmonds’ classrooms, as little as eight hours last year.
Lacey did not respond to those complaints during the election. More recently, she neither confirmed or denied how much time she spent teaching in Edmonds, but said she became a substitute because of the flexible schedule. Lacey stated that in the recent past she put less time into the classroom so as to devote more time to her family.