OKANOGAN — Voters in Okanogan County will have choices on the Aug. 6 primary ballot for Republic, Tonasket city government, and Omak School District voters will have a choice for a board position.
Last week, The Chronicle sent questions to all of the candidates who are in local contested races in Okanogan and Ferry counties seeking answers to three questions, along with their age, town of residency and a photograph of themselves.
Some candidates responded, others did not.
Candidates were asked to keep their answers to 100 words per question. For those who exceeded the word limit, their responses have been cutoff at the nearest complete sentence. Full response will be available online at omakchronicle.com.
Omak School District • Director District 5 at large
Background: I was born in Omak to Bill and Ruth Anderson, who raised me here. I graduated from Omak High School in 1964 and have lived in Omak most of my adult life. My late husband Jerry and I raised two daughters, who also graduated from Omak schools. I retired in 2008 after working for the Omak School District for 32 years as secretary to five superintendents. I have five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. I’ve been a school board member for 10 years and also serve on the Omak Performing Arts Center Foundation Board.
I want to see the district continue to develop partnerships that expand career and technical education, collaborating with local business and WorkSource to provide intern and apprenticeship opportunities. We want to increase opportunities for college-bound students to access college credit courses, which ultimately reduces their costs for post-secondary education. It’s important to strengthen connections with community members, business, parents, and staff so that we can respond to our students’ diverse interests and needs. To be successful, it’s vital that our schools and community work together and support each other.
Community members, parents, and district staff participated in a two-year facilities study, concluding that replacing the existing middle school is Priority No. 1. Our enrollment is growing and pressures for new technological/vocational education increasing. We listened to the community then, and I want to continue listening, especially to people who may not agree. I’ve heard concerns about the proposed location. Only a few properties were available, and all but the site on Sandflats Road were rejected because of environmental issues and/or cost. The property was purchased for less than the appraised value and will accommodate future changes and growth.
Safety of our students is our highest priority, and we will continue projects underway to improve security and address emergencies. Operating budgets are always a challenge as state funding continues to be unpredictable. Current rules also constrain funding of capital projects. We must continually seek ways to fund the best possible education for each child as we focus on student achievement with high expectations for student learning. A significant challenge will be the search for and selection of a new superintendent to replace Dr. Swanson, who will retire in 2020. I look forward to involving the community in that process.
In what direction would you like to see the Omak School District go in the next few years?
The curriculum is going to need to change. State funding — the budget as far as we have WAVA (Washington Virtual Academies) it’s reducing the load. Security — I personally think they should have security armed people in the schools to take care of that with signage outside that says you enter this at your own risk.
Candidate did not respond to Chronicle questions by press time.