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Haynes defeats Treppiedi for Spokane School Board

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 9, 2015

Haynes, left, and Treppiedi (Jonathan Brunt / The Spokesman-Review)
Haynes, left, and Treppiedi (Jonathan Brunt / The Spokesman-Review)

Voters in last week’s election rejected a new term for a 20-year incumbent on the Spokane School Board.

With nearly all votes counted, Jerrall Haynes, a 26-year-old airplane mechanic at Fairchild Air Force Base, defeated attorney Rocky Treppiedi, 63.

The latest count, which was released Monday afternoon, shows Haynes leads by more than 1,000 votes. Haynes works nights and could not be reached for comment Monday night.

“I can’t promise that people will always agree with me,” Haynes said Thursday. “But I can promise that I will do my best.”

While running for election, Haynes said he’d focus on improving relations with the community and including teachers in board-level policy discussions.

“At the end of the day, they’re the ones that have to implement the policies that we as school board members have to be making,” Haynes said in a previous interview.

Treppiedi has served on the board since 1996. He was the most vocal board member opposed to the one-day teacher walkout in May and a strike threat from the teachers union early this school year.

Haynes was endorsed by the union, the Spokane Education Association. The union also endorsed Paul Schneider, who also won a board seat in the Nov. 3 election.

Having two union-endorsed board members will help “smooth over” some of the communication issues between the board and the union, Haynes said.

Treppiedi was unavailable to comment Monday. In previous interviews, Treppiedi said he nearly didn’t run for re-election and opted against a vigorous campaign because he was too busy with board work. Last week, he said if he lost he wanted to thank those who voted for him and added that he’s enjoyed serving.

“If I don’t get in, I hope whoever gets in has the same opportunity to enjoy service to the district and students,” he said Thursday.

The Spokane County Elections Office has finished counting nearly all the ballots from the election.

Results will be certified later this month.

Haynes was ahead of Treppiedi by 1,099 votes in Monday’s count. Treppiedi led Haynes by less than 1 percentage point, or roughly 400 votes, after the first count on election night. However, as more votes were counted, Haynes moved ahead, first taking a 400-vote lead, and then roughly an 800-vote lead.

More than 9,000 ballots were returned with no vote on the board race.

This was the first election Treppiedi appeared on the ballot since he was fired in 2012 from his job as an assistant city attorney following his work defending the city of Spokane against a lawsuit from the family of Otto Zehm, who died in police custody.

Haynes said in earlier interviews that he would bring needed diversity to the board. He is the first African-American board member since Garret Daggett’s term ended in 2011.

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