Voters will decide in Tuesday’s primary which two of three candidates for an East Valley School Board position will advance to the general election.
Incumbent Karen Cecil is running against challengers Susan Wentz and Sandy Thompson-Jacholkowski. All three women have or have had children enrolled in East Valley schools. None of the three candidates plans any fund-raising, they said. “Word of mouth is best,” said Thompson-Jacholkowski.
In November’s general election, this race and one West Valley race will be decided. Six school board incumbents in the Valley went unchallenged.
Karen Cecil, who is 44 and works as a manager for Premier Video, is running for a fourth term on the EV board.
Cecil counts the school district’s building program among her accomplishments. Through a 1996 bond election, the district is adding classrooms to several schools, along with other renovations and improvements.
Cecil also said she’s proud of the Continuous Curriculum School, which is starting this fall.
“I’m real proud of the fact that we could get that going,” she said.
The Public Disclosure Commission has cited Cecil for failing to file an annual financial disclosure statement. She faces a $350 fine. A PDC spokesman said this is a repeat offense and that Cecil failed to file her statement on time in 1994. However, Cecil disputes that.
Cecil’s goals for her next term include continued support for the Continuous Curriculum School program, and for the district’s alternative programs at East Valley High School and East Valley Middle School. She hopes to help provide the best possible education program, within the district’s budget. Keeping sufficient cash reserve “makes us more marketable at bond time.”
Susan Wentz, 48 and a Windemere real estate agent, is running on a simple platform.
“Twelve years is long enough,” she said. “It’s time for a change.”
Wentz has five children, the youngest of whom will graduate this year. Several years ago, she volunteered and was active in PTA at Otis Orchards Elementary School and Mountain View Middle School. She also served for two years on the Spokane County Library Board.
“I’m available. People can call me either at home or at work,” Wentz said. “I think everybody wants to know where the money is going.
“I really don’t have any big complaints about the school board,” she said. “I think it’s good to have new ideas brought in.”
Sandy Thompson-Jacholkowski, said she will support the district’s special education programs and push drug awareness programs beyond DARE.
Thompson-Jacholkowski, 36, works in the medical field, drawing blood from the elderly. She has four children: a son at the high school, a daughter who graduated in 1996 and two younger children, 3 and 5. She was a former PTA president at Skyview Elementary School.
“I think when they finish the DARE program, there isn’t more drug awareness after that. I’d like to see that continue up until the high school level.”
She also wants to get involved in the high school’s alternative program, which one of her children attended for a while before moving back into the high school.
“I think all the teachers do a great job,” Thompson-Jacholkowski said.