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Tuesday, October 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Education

Medical Lake School Board candidates highlight perspectives on military, special needs students

The candidates vying for a Medical Lake school board position say the district is headed in the right direction and they’d like to serve it with their unique perspectives.

Incumbent Felicia Jensen, who was first appointed to the school board in 2013, said she understands the concerns of military families as a retired U.S. Air Force officer. And in her new role as an executive assistant to a dean at Eastern Washington University, she said she’s been able to gauge how well the school district is preparing students for college.

That experience has helped her examine what programs are working in the district and which may need fine tuning, Jensen said.

Challenger Laura Parsons, who has been a Medical Lake City Council member for 16 years, said her perspective comes from helping to manage the city budget and raising children who have special needs. She is not running for re-election to City Council.

“I’d like to help Medical Lake schools to keep being progressive because I don’t want to see kids falling through gaps,” Parsons said.

Jensen said she helped the district innovate by advocating for last year’s capital levy, which paid for technology and security upgrades, and helping apply for a Department of Defense grant that awarded each student a laptop.

Parsons said her first priority would be addressing the school district budget.

District administrators in July projected declining student enrollment and up to $600,000 in reserve spending for the 2019-20 budget.

Parsons said she’d also like to give paraeducators higher wages and increase resources for special needs students.

“Hopefully people will vote for me because I have a lot of experience and might have different ideas,” Parsons said.

Jensen said she wants to focus on college and career readiness if she is re-elected. She guided her own children through this, since her daughter chose to go to college and her son went into the work force.

“We’re laying that foundation for our students,” she said. “It’s important for school to prepare the kids for each path.”

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