Children board a school bus on Feb. 24, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Children board a school bus on Feb. 24, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Adkins, Rohla advance in race for Everett School Board Position 5

Several school board races around the county were tight. Meanwhile, an incumbent on Marysville’s board took just 8% of votes.

EVERETT — A homeless youth advocate and an economist are set to face off in the general election for a seat on the Everett Public Schools board, each with their own solutions for a $28 million budget deficit.

Charles Adkins garnered 38.7% of the first batch of primary votes Tuesday, leading the four-way race for Everett School Board Position 5, followed by Ryne Rohla in second place with 29.7%.

A race for Edmonds School District Position 5 narrowed to two candidates: Incumbent Nancy Katims, with 63.8%, is on course to face attorney Nicholas Jenkins with 24.3%, edging out program manager Arjun Kathuria.

In races for two Marysville School Board positions, bookkeeper Tiffani Mondares-Riggs, with 43.1% and Tulalip tribal official and Lushootseed teacher Eliza Davis, with 41.2%, will battle for Position 2 in November; Beth Hoiby, with 46.8%, will face challenger Sherryl Kenney, who took 38.1% of the vote for Position 3. The incumbent Keira Atchley, who missed a deadline to submit her information to the voters’ pamphlet, had 8.3%.

Although four names were on the ballot, two winners were decided before the primary election for Monroe School District Position 1: Jeremiah Campbell with 55.3% of the vote will run to hold his seat against parent Crystal Blakely with 15.6%. Two other candidates had dropped out. If Tiana Armstrong would have stayed in the race, she would have advanced to the general election with 25.4% of votes.

Everett School Board Position 5

Leading up to Tuesday’s election, safety, youth homelessness and a major budget shortfall were major topics for candidates.

Everett Public Schools passed its Reduced Educational Program in March — with projections to cut as many as 142 positions.

Rohla, set to advance from the primary, earlier said budget cuts “should be kept as far away from students as possible.”

Rohla, who ran for state representative last year as a Republican, has said cuts should start with administration, technology and substitute teachers.

Adkins, a Tulalip Tribes policy analyst, was less confident about where to start. He said there are “no good answers” about how to improve the deficit, and school leadership should brainstorm with teachers and parents.

Rohla and Adkins have campaigned on different issues. For Rohla, a parent in the district, the most pressing problem is students failing to meet state learning standards.

Adkins, who was homeless as a teen, named youth homelessness, mental health and safety as his top priorities. He has advocated for students through his nonprofit Best Schools Marysville and as a member of the state Advisory Council on Homelessness and the Snohomish County Children’s Commission. He is also the vice chair of the Everett Planning Commission.

Janelle Burke, who took third with 18.6%, previously lost an at-large position on the school board in 2021. Burke campaigned on anti-bullying efforts and parental control over sex ed. She’s the main person behind WakeUp SnoCo, which she calls a citizen journalism website. In 2019, the website endorsed a County Council candidate, Willie Russell, who had been convicted of multiple sex offenses.

In response to the budget deficit, Burke suggested educators’ wage demands are too high, and volunteers can “take over some duties from paid positions.”

Roman Rewolinski, in last with 12.5%, campaigned on school safety and proposed more police patrols at schools. He suggested a group effort approach for the district budget and advocated against “sanitizing” education.

Edmonds School District Position 5

The Edmonds School District is also facing a budget deficit of $15 million. The district is looking to cut 32 positions along with some music and art classes.

Primary leader Katims, who has a doctorate in educational psychology, spent 17 years as program director in the district before winning the Position 5 seat in 2019. She hopes to work with lawmakers to adjust Washington’s “prototypical model,” which she said determines state funding for school districts with outdated data.

Jenkins, who is set to challenge Katims, campaigned on improving student performance and boosting educator salaries. He said tax increases were not the answer to district funding, and wants the state budget to allocate more money toward education.

Kathuria, at 11.6%, failed to garner enough votes to make it to the general election. He suggested using city budget funds for education. As a recently naturalized citizen born in India, he hoped to increase diversity in district leadership.

Marysville School Board positions 2, 3

The Marysville School District has faced many challenges over the past two years: The superintendent resigned, several educators were laid off and levies to help fund the district repeatedly failed — before a stripped-down version passed in February 2023.

Leading for Position 2 is Mondares-Riggs, a business owner who campaigned on district accountability. She said she would ask the district more questions about finances.

Davis is a Lushootseed language teacher and the general services director for the Tulalip Tribes. According to the voter pamphlet, she has experience in curriculum development and wants to ensure equity in money distribution throughout the district.

Nelson said in an email that despite being on the ballot, he was “not an election candidate.”

Atchley, the Position 3 incumbent, won’t make it past the primary. She submitted no information to the voter’s pamphlet,

“It makes sense,” she said, when a Herald reporter read her the results over the phone Tuesday night.

Atchley had faced scrutiny over a proposed policy that would require parental permission to join clubs. Critics said the policy targeted LGBTQ+ students.

Hoiby, in the lead for Atchley’s seat, said she would focus on educating the public about levies and spend time listening to stakeholders. She has roots in Marysville and Tulalip, where she lived until she was 13. She has advocated for Tulalip Tribes to stay connected with the district.

Kenney’s campaign reflected her Christian beliefs. She advocated for parental control over sex ed curriculum. She is also against efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion, and said that ceasing those programs would save the district money.

Wykes, another candidate who won’t make it further, said “parents feel powerless” because they can’t choose which school their child is assigned to. She said parents should be able to keep their kids out of sex ed.

Monroe School District Position 1

The Monroe School District has seen years of turmoil that led to a superintendent’s resignation over allegations of a toxic workplace, as well as alleged racism in the district’s schools. The winner of Position 1 will work with new superintendent Shawn Woodward.

Campbell has held the seat since 2021 and serves as the board’s vice president. He has taught for nine years and is currently a Spanish teacher in the Northshore School District and an adjunct professor at Northwest University. He believes he is the best choice to ensure continuity on the school board, and he wants the district to use COVID dollars effectively.

His challenger Blakely has been a district volunteer and tutor for six years. She said she wants to see school district communication with parents and educators improve. She believes teachers should have more representation in school board meetings.

Armstrong and Trey Sherrill earlier withdrew from the race.

Sydney Jackson: 425-339-3430; sydney.jackson@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @_sydneyajackson.

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