During a long campaign, Spokane Public Schools board candidate Jenny Slagle stuck to a simple, positive message: “That Spokane is getting more diverse, and we need to adjust and think ahead.”
Voters listened, giving Slagle a solid win over Kelli MacFarlane and a six-year term in Position 2. As of Tuesday night, Slagle took 54% of the vote.
“I definitely stuck to my message, which was pretty consistent,” Slagle said.
Another winner, Kevin Morrison, leaned on his experience, including 16 years working for the district, to easily defeat Erin Georgen in the Position 4 race.
“I would like to think that my message of experience and trust probably echoed with voters,” said Morrison, who also won the endorsements of both the Republican and Democratic parties.
A former administrator with the district, Morrison took 56.8% of the vote.
Morrison will serve the remaining two years of a term originally won in 2015 by Paul Schneider, who resigned two years later.
Morrison had worked until the end of June as the district’s interim director of safety, risk management and transportation. He served as director of community relations and communications from 2013 to 2018. Before that, he worked in the district’s capital projects department from 2003-13, managing bond projects.
At Position 1, another six-year position, Nikki Lockwood said she felt “pretty good” after taking a 2,280-vote lead over Katey Treloar in a race that saw the pair raise a combined $45,000.
As of Tuesday night, Lockwood had 52.8% of the vote. Most of the remaining votes will be tabulated Wednesday.
Like Slagle, Lockwood said she thought that “the message of diversity and inclusion resonated with the community, plus my history of the work I’ve done.”
“It was a tough race, but I feel pretty confident,” Lockwood said.
The candidates diverged on two key issues: school security and the budget.
On the question of a supplemental levy – should legislative help fall short this winter – Lockwood said, “given that we have a projected budget deficit over the next four years, there is a need for additional funding, and I would support giving the voters the opportunity to weigh in on a levy.”
Treloar said that supplemental levies are an “unpredictable, unreliable revenue source.”
On the issue of school security, Treloar said she would support hiring armed police officers who would be permanently assigned to a specific middle school and high school.
Lockwood said the Safe Havens report – which offered recommendations to improve school security – “failed to convince me that arming personnel is evidence-based.”
Slagle and MacFarlane also disagreed on those same issues.
Slagle, the top vote-getter of any candidate in the primaries, campaigned on a platform of opposition to arming professionals in schools while improving restorative practices.
“We must continue to work to improve relationships and student success by deepening restorative discipline practices, culturally responsive training and MTSS programs, which now includes social-emotional learning,” Slagle said.
MTSS stands for “multitiered system of supports” and is a concept for problem-solving promoted by the Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction’s office.
MacFarlane had pushed to address safety concerns with an armed presence in all schools, including elementary schools.
“I’m in favor of it,” said MacFarlane, who has 15 years of teaching experience. “But not anyone – it has to be a professional, and they also need to be seriously vetted.”
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