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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Challenger to Lakeland School Board chair calls for better communication

Sheila Holfeltz says the board leading the Lakeland Joint School District needs a new direction. She’s challenging the board’s chair, Michelle Thompson, in Tuesday’s election for Zone 3.

“I think we need to work on building trust and transparency with the school district and the community and find ways to come together,” she said.

Attempts made to reach Thompson were unsuccessful. She is backed by the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee. Thompson’s website says she has strong beliefs in “protecting female spaces; face masks and vaccines should not be mandated; and Critical Race Theory has NO place in public education,” based on a note by Jacqueline Myers, treasurer for Thompson, on the website.

Another main goal of Thompson’s has been to “keep our schools free from radical gender ideology and free from politicization,” according to Thompson’s website.

Holfeltz said that if elected she will make sure everyone involved has a say.

“I am open-minded and level-headed,” she said. “I make decisions based on facts and logic and not emotions or political agendas.”

Holfeltz is backed by the North Idaho Republicans and Friends of Lakeland Schools, which was formed to support the district’s levy requests earlier this year.

Thompson and three other board members voted in favor of placing the levies on the ballot for the May election after the levies failed in March; vice chair of the board, Ramona Grissom, voted against placing it back on the ballot. Voters approved the levies.

With three children who have all been a part of the Lakeland Joint School District for the past eight years, Holfeltz said she appreciates the people along the way who have supported her children’s academic careers.

“I have been a part of their education from the time they were little, and I’ve really been impressed with this community and the teachers and the staff and how they have done such a great job of taking care of my kids and teaching them and supporting them,” Holfeltz said. “I decided it was time to give back to that community and see if I could serve our community the same way that people have served me.”

If elected into the position, Holfeltz hopes to create better communication within the district.

“(I will) listen to the parents and the people that I will represent in my zone, listen to the school, the staff and the teachers, and find ways that we can come together and figure out solutions that will best benefit the children in our district,” Holfeltz said.

Samantha Fuller's reporting is part of the Teen Journalism Institute, funded by Bank of America with support from the Innovia Foundation.