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Monday, May 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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District 81 School Board Has Openings This Fall President Nancy Fike Decides Not To Run Again; Treppiedi Seeks Another Term

An assistant city attorney wants another term on Spokane’s District 81 School Board, while a physical therapist says six years was enough for her.

Nancy Fike, the 46-year-old board president, said this week she won’t run for a second term this fall.

Instead, she’ll spend more time with her two teenage sons, a freshman and a junior at Ferris High School.

She’s leaving contented, Fike said, knowing she had a hand in crafting the district’s long-term strategic plan and hiring Superintendent Gary Livingston.

“It has been very time-consuming and I’ve loved every minute of it,” she said, referring to the post that sometimes occupies every night of the week.

Rocco Treppiedi, however, said his 16 months on the board left him with a laundry list of goals for Spokane schools.

Treppiedi, 44, ran unsuccessfully for the five-member board in 1995, when former teacher Christie Querna won by a large margin.

But a few months later, he was appointed to fill an open seat when a longtime member resigned midterm.

Now that he’s “learned the ropes,” the father of three school-age kids said he wants to steer more district money toward computers. He also wants to make it tougher for students to be promoted without good grades.

Treppiedi is on a fledgling committee to rewrite a policy on when students should advance or be held back a grade.

He favors holding kids accountable for poor work and informing parents early on when students are failing.

“The point is, put some guts behind this,” he said.

The number of students held back in Spokane schools has decreased dramatically in the past decade. Last year, just 22 of the district’s 32,000 students were held back.

But high school principals say kids often aren’t adequately prepared when they arrive, and middle school principals complain students show up there without the knowledge they need to succeed.

“Over the past few years, we’ve accepted mediocrity,” Treppiedi said. “The standards have been lowered.”

Treppiedi said his main goal for the board itself is to have more work sessions to hash out issues before board meetings.

“It fits my approach to doing work, which is everybody is thoroughly informed and gets as much information as possible before the board meeting,” he said.

The Spokane board has a reputation for voting unanimously and rarely disagreeing in public.

Treppiedi said he doesn’t think citizens are interested in sitting through much debate during regular, twice-monthly board meetings.

Treppiedi is best known for defending the city against a decade-old lawsuit filed by a Gypsy family angry about police searches. But Treppiedi doesn’t think that reputation will interfere with his school board campaign.

Two weeks ago, Spokane settled the case out of court for $1.42 million.

During Treppiedi’s 1995 school board campaign, Gypsy leader Jimmy Marks surprised him by running against him.

But Treppiedi said the legal battle didn’t distract voters from his campaign.

“People didn’t bring up the Marks case,” he said, “other than Jimmy Marks.”

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: HOW TO RUN People interested in running for the District 81 School Board must file from July 28 through Aug. 1 in the county auditor’s office. There is no filing fee.

This sidebar appeared with the story: HOW TO RUN People interested in running for the District 81 School Board must file from July 28 through Aug. 1 in the county auditor’s office. There is no filing fee.

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