Big School Board Candidate Turnout; Issues at Hand: Mount Si Improvements, Dropout Rate, Strategic Plan, Re-open SMS, Build New Elementary School

It’s been known for two years, but now it is a reality.

After the Snoqualmie Valley School District redrew its five school board director districts to meet federal redistricting laws, two current school board members resided in the same district. Meaning when it came election time, they’d have to run against each other to continue serving.

The boundaries of the districts changed after 2010 census data documented a huge population shift in the Snoqualmie Valley.  The dramatic growth of Snoqualmie meant its current one school board seat wasn’t reflective of its now larger population.

So in 2011, a new Snoqualmie director district was created, which shifted the North Bend boundary lines, putting school board members Scott Hodgins and Marci Busby both in District 4.

Friday, May 17, 2013, was the final deadline for SVSD school board candidates to file for the November election. New District 1 and realigned District 4 are on the ballot this voting go-around.

Snoqualmie’s new school board district had one person file, Tavish MacLean, who runs unopposed.  District 4, on the other hand, had a record number of candidates file for the election, including two sitting school board members, Hodgins and Busby, along with residents Stephen Kangas and David Spring.

I asked the North Bend District 4  candidates to briefly share why they are running.  WhenMarci Busby responds, her answer will also be added.

Marci Busby

“Keep the focus on the kids; continue to empower the professional educators in our district; direct district growth discussion around building flexible capacity and recognizing evolving programming,” are incumbent Marci Busby’s reasons for seeking re-election.Marci

She wants to be a part of the district’s next phase of development and progression.  Marci admits her strengths are quiet, but her “resolve is and always has been for the kids of the district.”

Marci identifies the most immediate need of the district as an elementary school on Snoqualmie Ridge and hopes that other possible future bond components don’t jeopardize getting it built.

She is also committed to the district continuing to invest heavily in professional development to attract and retain quality teachers, saying “it is money well spent.”

For more information on Marci visit www.BusbyforKids.com

Scott Hodgins

“I  have too much unfinished business,” said the current School Board President. Some of that business includes improving Mount Si High School.  Scott said in the 18 years since he began volunteering with the Hodginsdistrict, discussions have always been about the need to improve educational opportunities and the learning experience at Mount Si.  He commented, “I argue that the need to improve Mt. Si High School still exists.”

Hodgins would also like to approve and implement a SVSD strategic plan, which is a goal of the current school board. He explained that the plan would transparently define for the community educational objectives for teaching and learning. Scott explained that such a plan would also include a “consistent and reliable” economical, long-range capital facilities plan that meets educational and student capacity needs for years to come.

Scott says he has many other reasons for running, but none top his love for the district and his respect for teachers and administrators.

Stephen Kangas

“I want to help focus our board and administration on resourcing the most important things that drive student
learning and academic performance,” said Kangas.  He sees teachers as the most important thing in this area.

Stephen said study data shows that effective teachers who engage students, exciting them about what they’re Kangaslearning, makes the biggest difference, with smaller class size being the second most important thing.

Kangas says he wants to stop the trend he sees of the district spending on less important things and sacrificing teachers, resulting in rounds of lay-offs and growing class sizes.

Stephen also wants to see more done to address student safety issues, including bullying, in order to retain more students.  He’d like to get a 6th elementary school on Snoqualmie Ridge built as soon as possible and like Hodgins, wants to develop a district strategic plan, something Kangas says SVSD has never had.

Kangas said good strategic plans, with set priorities, help students, teachers, parents and taxpayers see a more efficient use of money and resources, which in turn builds confidence in well-developed school construction and renovation bonds.

You can learn more about Stephen Kangas at kangasforschools.com

David Spring

Spring says he wants to improve the educational experience of elementary, middle and high school students, providing high quality education for every child. He says his running “is mainly about re-opening Snoqualmie Middle School” because he believes that move is key to accomplishing high-quality education.

David says starting next year, Snoqualmie Valley 9th graders will be the only high school students in the state required to Springattend an isolated freshman campus, which he says deprives students of four full years at a comprehensive high school.

Spring says the conversion of Snoqualmie Middle School to a freshman campus is  severely overcrowding the two remaining middle schools while creating empty classrooms at Mount Si High School.

David says he also wants to build a much-needed elementary school on Snoqualmie Ridge and work to improve the dropout rate at Mount Si High School, which he says is the highest of Eastside schools.  He believes getting the district back to three middle schools and a 4-year comprehensive high school will improve education and that dropout rate.

You can find out more about David’s campaign at springforschools.org

The District 4 primary election is August 6, 2013. Although, candidates must reside in the school board director district of seat for which they are running, they represent all students and voters district-wide decide the election.

Two candidates will then move on to the November 5th general election, vying for the 4-year school board term.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. David Spring has my vote. I’m appalled that none of the other candidates mentioned the problems with the Middle Schools. I am still so upset about this and to hear the other candidates stressing the need for another elementary school and others talking about the high school which has the least problems right now is infuriating. It is obvious that they are very out of touch with the real issues of this district. I would love it if someone can explain to me why, when we were promised that the Ridge would include the cost of additional schools into the development has managed to overcrowd our schools and then continue to need additional schools? Where did the money that was supposed to go to building the schools to accommodate the huge influx of students by the Ridge development? I watched my daughter’s 5th grade class go from four to three and it’s had a huge effect on everyone this year. Building another elementary school will not ease class sizes, that was due to a lack of teachers or funding, but had nothing to do with needing another elementary school. As a matter of fact, her school had quite a number of empty classrooms. With empty classrooms, why do we need another building? Why is there such a push for full day kindergarten when we are overcrowding our middle schools? If it’s not clear, I’m very upset with the decisions of the current board and would like to see major changes.

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