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Our picks for Bethel, Clover Park school boards

Post by Kim Bradford on Oct. 19, 2009 at 10:51 am |
October 30, 2009 11:09 am

This editorial appeared in the Monday print edition.

The Bethel School District gets the prize for having, if not the most vigorous school board campaigns, at least the oddest. It’s remarkable that the races are even contested.

In District 1, a staunch opponent of the school district is running against the one person on the school board who sees eye-to-eye with him on some issues.

Ron Morehouse, a physician’s assistant, has opposed school bond measures and thinks Superintendent Tom Seigel could be doing a better job.

We’re wondering what his beef is with incumbent Ken Blair, who has repeatedly voted against the superintendent’s positive performance evaluations and has been anything but a pushover on school funding measures.

Blair, who works in child support enforcement for the state, offers a good combination of experience, smarts and independence. He knows the district well – well enough to sometimes go his own way on the board. Morehouse’s views are more extreme, and he doesn’t present a case for replacing a solid school board member.

In District 3, there’s another unlikely pairing. Marianne Lincoln would have been running unopposed if it were not for what appears to be bad advice from the county auditor’s office. Lincoln withdrew over a residency flap, only to refile when the county reopened the position.

In the second go-around, she drew an opponent. Robert Etteldorf, who works in property management and real estate development, briefly served on the school board several years ago. He has ideas about how the district can lower its dropout rate, but he is not actively campaigning for the position.

Lincoln, in contrast, seems to be genuinely interested in serving on the school board. A contract employee for an agency at Microsoft, she has brains, a record of civic service and energy to spare. Lincoln is an ambitious candidate who likely would make her mark on the board as an engaged and active member.

In the sole race for Clover Park school board, we are endorsing the incumbent, property developer Paul Wagemann. His opponent, Juanita Daniels, did not respond to our request for an interview, and we have little information with which to assess her candidacy.

That might be a bigger concern if we thought Wagemann weren’t getting the job done. A businessman who is concerned that public schools aren’t turning out qualified graduates, he’s kept an open mind since being appointed to the board earlier this year.

Wagemann now says he is impressed with the district’s top administrators and thinks they are focused on the right thing: student achievement. But he’s still enough of a skeptic to ask tough questions.

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