Ken Burchell, who was booted out of his chairmanship last January, won’t seek re-election to the Coeur d’Alene School District board of trustees.
Of the various board races coming up in North Idaho, one between Burchell and contender Edie Brooks might have been the liveliest. As it is, Brooks is running unopposed.
Burchell was considered abrasive by some people, and an outspoken advocate of academic excellence by others. He was voted out of his chairmanship by fellow board members. But he didn’t cite controversy as a reason for stepping down.
Rather, he said, it was a feeling that he’d accomplished most of what he wanted to do, such as improve background checks on teachers.
“I’m satisfied with my accomplishments over my last three years. I think they’ll stand the test of time,” said Burchell, a goldsmith. “And I think it’s time for someone else’s shot at it. Turnover is healthy in school boards.”
In order to prevent too much turnover, only one or two school board seats are up for election each year.
Brooks decided to run because she felt she wasn’t being well represented on the board. She expected a race against Burchell. Despite the lack of one, she still wants voters to get to know her.
A mother of three, she’s been president of the Sorensen Elementary School parent teacher organization for four years. She’s done graduate work in education counseling, and served 14 years as administrator of a non-profit community center.
The only contested race in the Coeur d’Alene School District will be between Herb Cheeley and incumbent Jane Curtis. They’re competing in Zone 4, the northcentral part of the city.
Curtis, said she will continue to keep academic excellence in the forefront if she is re-elected.
“There’s still some things I’d like to do,” including oversee the establishment of curriculum guidelines, said Curtis, the mother of three and a Plum Creek Timber Co. employee.
Cheeley is a retiree who taught 27 years at Spokane Community College. He’s lived in Coeur d’Alene for 37 years, had four children go through Coeur d’Alene schools, where his wife taught.
“I’m hoping I can help provide better education,” he said of his first run for school board.
“It ends up lots of times, the administration versus the teachers,” he added, making clear his sympathy with teachers.
The League of Women Voters and school district will co-sponsor a candidate forum in the Coeur d’Alene High School Auditorium, at 7 p.m. May 9.
In Coeur d’Alene, the May 21 election will coincide with a levy election, in which voters will be asked to approve construction of a new middle school. People who want to vote in the board election must do so within their trustee zone. Details are available from the school district at 664-8241.
Here’s a list of other board elections throughout the Panhandle, and numbers to call for information. Although the deadline for filing petitions has passed, write-in candidates can declare their intent within five days of the election.
Avery (245-2479): No contests. Liz Codoni is seeking the Calder position of Jim Oliver, who is not running for re-election.
Bonner County (263-2184): Ann Souza is running unopposed for the Sagle/Blanchard-area seat held by Brent Baker, who did not seek re-election.
Boundary County (267-3146): Dale G. Albertson is running against incumbent Dan Robertson in the northwest corner of the county. In the northeast zone, incumbent Leonard Kucera is opposed by both Michael T. Ashby and John Tice.
Harrison (689-3631): In the Black Lake area, incumbent Shawn Fly has chosen not to run. Dana Schmitz is seeking that seat, so far unopposed.
Kellogg (784-1348): Both Debbie Fulton and Brad Corkill are running unopposed for re-election.
Lakeland (687-0431): There are two contested races: In the Twin Lakes/ Garwood/Prairie area, William Reese and Barry Ballenbach are each seeking the seat held by Don Soltman. In Hauser Lake/Hidden Valley, Joyce Nowacki is competing against incumbent George A. Riffle, Jr., for a one-year position. Incumbent Gary MacDonald has no competitors for the Athol-Bayview seat.
Mullan (744-1118): Incumbents David Autio, Vanner Hegbloom and Mary Murray have no announced opposition.
Plummer/Worley (686-1621): Joe Lachnik is running unopposed for the Plummer seat held by Carrie Horlacher, who is stepping down.
Post Falls (773-1658): Incumbent Donagene Turnbow is facing off against Dan Mouchette in the zone north of Seltice Way. Incumbent Ed Adamchak is running unopposed in the Ponderosa/Highlands area.
St. Maries (245-2579): Incumbent Sharon Porter is being challenged by Howard “Butch” Houck in the zone that takes in the southern part of St. Maries.
Wallace (753-4515): Incumbent Web Cotter faces Carol McCluskey and Kathy Sullivan-Orton in the zone that takes in part of Osborn, and the North Fork drainage. Incumbent Dick Vester is running unopposed.