Edmonds School Board candidates see funding as top issue

  • By Sharon Salyer Herald Writer
  • Monday, October 17, 2011 12:01am
  • Local News

EMONDS — Voters will choose two members of the Edmonds School Board, with one race pitting a school board veteran against a newcomer and the other filling the position now held by Patrick Shields.

Incumbent Gary Noble has been on the school board for eight years and said he’d like to be elec

ted for one more term.

He wants to return, he said, in part to assist efforts to improve student achievement through such efforts as the school district’s new literacy and mathematics curriculum.

Noble said his interest in serving the school district began as a volunteer when his child

ren entered kindergarten and continued through their years in school as a tutor, a PTA officer and serving on the district’s citizens planning committee.

“I got really involved in a lot of district business and became very interested in education and the running of a school district,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it every since.”

Boe Lindgren said he has a tough task, not only running against an incumbent, but someone who received 72 percent of the vote in the primary.

Lindgren said he has volunteered for community nonprofits for the past 25 years, including the Nile Shriners in Mountlake Terrace and as a soccer coach.

Lindgren said he thinks community groups and businesses would be interested in donating to various school projects, but that a person needs to be appointed by the district to encourage and oversee such donations.

“There are organizations that want to donate to the schools, but they don’t know the avenue to do it,” he said. “The person writing the checks wants to talk to the person in charge.”

Money to support education needs to come from private business, “not just taxes as a solution,” he said. One example might be to have a company sponsor football team to help offset the cost of uniforms.

Mark Dillan has never before run for public office. But he thinks his skills as the owner of his own business and as a long-time community volunteer could be well-used in helping direct the school district.

Dillan, who is facing off against another newcomer in Diana White, said that as a member of a citizens advisory committee, he was among the first to push for the leasing the property on the former Lynnwood High School site, income that can be used for future school construction.

Dillan said he would also like the school district to consider other, non-tax sources of revenue, such as allowing businesses or groups to buy naming rights for school district stadiums, or allowing advertising on school district buses — steps which have been taken in other school districts to raise money.

Voters have been approving school district taxing issues, but by increasingly smaller margins, he said. “That shows that not only that people who don’t have children in school are weary of tax (requests) but people with children in the school district voted no. We have to be diligent in understanding the concerns of that tax base.”

White, too, has been an active community volunteer, including participation in after-school math and algebra clubs, working as a board member of the Hazel Miller Foundation, an Edmonds-based nonprofit, and as a chore volunteer for Catholic Community Services.

Noting the increase over the past few years in the number of students who participate in free- or reduced-price lunch programs, White said she would like to increase after-school programs to provide students snacks and help them with their homework.

White said she would like to get more feedback from parents on the school district’s performance. “I’ve never been asked … how can we improve your kid’s education?” she said. Adding a form to the school district website would allow parents to provide ongoing comments and help identify problems more quickly “versus waiting until it’s a big problem,” she said.

The Edmonds School District with about 20,000 students includes Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Woodway and surrounding unincorporated areas of Snohomish County.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com .

Edmonds School Board

District 3

Boe Lindgren

Age: 41

Residence: Lynnwood (unincorporated Snohomish County)

Occupation: Real estate broker

Website: Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/BoeLindgren

Priorities: Quality teachers; smaller class size; improved test scores.

Gary Noble

Age: 63

Residence: Lynnwood (unincorporated Snohomish County)

Occupation: Retired Boeing engineering manager

Website: None

Priorities: Improve student achievement; retain the best teachers and staff with increased support, training and shared decision-making; continue to maintain financial integrity

District 5

Mark Dillan

Age: 55

Residence: Edmonds

Occupation: Owns a commercial floor coverings business

Website: Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/MarkDillan

Priorities: Enhance communication throughout the district, including parents, students, teachers and community members who do not have children in school; find alternative sources of revenue for the school district, such as allowing naming rights for stadiums; help all students achieve to the best of their ability.

Diana White

Age: 46

Residence: Edmonds

Occupation: Parent of four children, community volunteer, former commercial insurance underwriter

Website: www.dianawhite4kids.com

Priorities: Be a voice for the underserved and minority populations in the schools; increase parent and community involvement and feedback; continue to improve math scores, especially among girls in our district.

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