The Seattle Times has a good article this morning on our local school board race, where three candidates are challenging incumbent Mary Bass.
Regarding candidate Kay Smith-Blum, who is rated “Very Good” by the Municipal League, the Times says:
She has a long list of ambitious ideas for Seattle Public Schools. She wants, for example, to require foreign-language instruction in elementary school, and to revamp middle schools.
She calls herself a “doer” and says she’s always wanted to run for school board. Now that her children are grown and she’s arranged to spend less time at her clothing store, she says, she has the time.
For CDNews member Andre Helmstetter, who is rated “Good” by the Municipal League:
Helmstetter, if elected, says his first order of business would be to ask parents in District 5 what they want. The job of a board member, he said, is to carry out the will of the public.
Helmstetter used to own Café Vega, a coffeehouse on East Yesler Way that he built into a community gathering place. He now co-owns another cafe but wants to return to the software business, where’s he’s been a quality-assurance manager.
For CDNews member Joanna Cullen, who is rated “Adequate” by the Municipal League:
Cullen says she’s running because she was outraged by what she considered the rushed and chaotic way the district closed schools this year and wants to work to rebuild the trust of families in the Central Area, which had more school closures and moves than any other area.
And finally, regarding incumbent Mary Bass, who is also rate “Adequate” by the Municipal League:
Change is harder to achieve than her foes think, she said. And she says she has been effective in influencing policy, even if she’s often on the losing side of important votes.
But some say it’s time for someone new.
“Mary always talks about these plans and initiatives, but they never come to the light of day,” said parent and blogger Melissa Westbrook, who backed Bass in the past but says she won’t this time.
Also refer back to our previous coverage of this race at a recent neighborhood forum.