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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington Voices

Few Challengers Take On Running For School Board Seats

Unpublished correction: The name of June Sine was misspelled in this story.

The good news is: The public thinks schools in the Spokane Valley are running pretty well.

The bad news is: The public is too busy to care.

The reality is: No one knows for sure. But Valley school board candidates hold both these theories about why so few challengers turned up. Across the Valley and including Freeman, 10 school board seats are up for election. Only two incumbents attracted any opposition.

“An old school board member told me that if nobody shows up at your meetings, then things usually are going pretty well,” said Pete Schweda, who has served three terms on the West Valley School Board.

“Believe me, if things aren’t going well, then people let you know.”

June Sines, a six-year member of the East Valley School Board, says people’s busy lives get in the way.

“They have other priorities,” she said.

Here are a few other likely reasons that school board races are so placid in the Valley:

Property taxes have jumped for some, but overall are relatively even.

Population growth is evening out.

And three of the four school districts are completing building programs that give breathing room in their elementary schools.

The only two board members in Central Valley are running with no opposition.

The next big building issue - what to do about Central Valley’s two high schools - will be addressed possibly next spring in a bond issue. The school board has made no decision about exactly what to ask for in a bond issue. So, that issue hasn’t attracted any challengers.

Challenger Susan Wentz in East Valley suggested that better publicity before filing time would induce more people to run.

“What if they hung a banner across the (school district) administration building and said ‘Guess what, people, we’re going to have an opening’,” Wentz said. “I think people are afraid of the process of getting elected and it’s not that hard.”

A couple of incumbents said they were disappointed not to have any opposition.

“I really enjoyed the last campaign with all the challengers. I thought it was good for education,” said Craig Holmes, unchallenged Central Valley board member.

, DataTimesMEMO: See individual profiles by name of candidate.

See individual profiles by name of candidate.

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