The election of President Donald Trump and the appointments he’s made since taking office have a silver lining: People are stepping up in ways large and small. They are marching, rallying and running for office. School boards might seem like a minor public office, but a good K-12 education is foundational to the growth of our state and this country.
EW was unable to interview candidates in every contested school board race, and is endorsing only in races whose candidates we spoke to.
4J School Board Position 2
Anne Marie Levis
The race for position 2 drew two energetic and passionate candidates, Anne Marie Levis and Maya Rabasa. The candidates share enthusiasm for education and a desire to fund and improve 4J schools. Levis is president of Funk/Levis branding and marketing and is a 4J parent and longtime school board member. Rabasa is an artist, a 4J parent and a longtime volunteer in the schools. We are looking at Levis’ years of experience and politics when we give her our nod. There’s only so much a local school board member can do when it comes to funding our cash-strapped schools, but what little there is, Levis understands how to leverage. Rabasa is a strong candidate, and we hope she runs again and stays in it for the long haul when it comes to improving 4J education. We think she will.
4J School Board Position 3
If Eugene is an example, our new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos seems to be generating powerful support for the very public education she hates. Isn’t it ironic that we have a secretary of education who detests public education, the most important pillar of American democracy? We have unusually strong and qualified candidates for positions on the 4J school board — volunteer jobs not usually tempting to those with doctorates in education.
Their campaigns have attracted long lists of endorsers and foot soldiers. These supporters have helped to persuade us to endorse Judy Newman for position 3. Nancy Golden, former Springfield superintendent and state official, and George Russell, retired Eugene superintendent, plus a long list of public officials, nonprofit advocates and educators, all praise Newman. Golden, who has worked with Newman both on local and state levels where she lobbied for kids, calls her “very tough.”
Newman, who founded Early Childhood CARES, has worked for more than 30 years to develop student success. We wonder if Jerry Rosiek, who has been especially tough in his opposition to high-stakes standardized testing, might be better suited for the state Legislature than the local school board. He and Mary Leighton, the third highly qualified candidate, should continue their terrific work for public education. We need them as well as our first choice Judy Newman.
20-271 Lane County Renewal of Jail and Critical Youth Services Five-year Levy
Normally we raise an eyebrow at funding jails rather than funding services. But the county has not only kept its promise to be transparent on how it spends the levy money, it has also, under the leadership of current County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky, improved its services for the mentally ill and those who cycle in and out of the criminal justice system. So yes: Let’s renew the funding.
20-272 Fern Ridge Library District Library District Five-Year Local Option Levy For General Operations
Looking at Douglas County, which has closed its libraries due to a lack of funds, we say please do fund libraries, especially in rural areas where the library is a key meeting place and information exchange.