As another Northshore School Board election looms, I’ve been trying to figure out how best to help my friends decide which candidate to support. In District 3, there are three candidates running in the primary: Berta Phillips, David Cogan and Isaac Parsons.
What have these candidates done in our district for students and why are they running? Have the candidates been active in schools and PTAs? Do they understand there are legislative issues which impact district policies? Are they prepared to confront the conflicting demands of providing higher wages to district employees, raising levies and bonds on district residents and businesses, and the costs/benefits these decisions have on the quality of education for our students? Do they appreciate that a school board director requires a substantial time commitment to do a good job?
I encourage people to check out candidate endorsements. Personal endorsements are important because the candidates need to have great people skills – the community needs to feel comfortable talking to them about important issues. Organizational endorsements need to be transparent about how they selected their candidates – were all candidates given equal opportunity to present their views? Do these organizations provide access to the information they received from the candidates? What are the priorities of the organizations? PALS wants later high school start times; political party endorsements are for candidates whom they believe will further party priorities (local, state or national control of curriculum); and district employee unions (NSEA) want to ensure that a candidate is willing to support its agenda (e.g., whether the “surplus” of educational funds this year can be redirected toward higher wages for their membership).
The position of a school board director has immediate and long term consequences, with issues ranging from maintaining high academic standards for all students, while supporting struggling learners and implementing quality programs for highly capable students; to balancing the overcrowding in Bothell schools and the under-enrollment in Woodinville elementaries. During the next four years, NSD will open a fourth high school, and reconfigure grade bands. This is indeed a crucial election for School Board. Be informed.
Lying Wong, Bothell