Tuesday, August 09, 2011

School Board Elections - Primary and General

This question keeps popping up and so here's the answer again.

School Board elections in Seattle work in a very different way from other elections. 

In the PRIMARY, only those voters who live in a district where a position is up for a vote, will see School Board candidates on their ballot.  In this election, only voters who live in District 1, District 2, District 3 and District 6, will see candidates on their ballot.  And, they will see only candidates from their district on the ballot.

Basically, you do NOT vote for School Board candidates in the primary UNLESS you are in a district where the position is up for a vote.  That's why some people don't have any School Board candidates on their primary ballot. 

When the primary has whittled the candidate pool down to two, then, in the General election, EVERYONE will vote for candidates in ALL 4 races.  The SB elections are then a city-wide race.

(In the case of someone running unopposed in a district in a primary, that candidate goes to the General but has already won the race.) 

This method makes running for School Board fairly tricky because you need a base in your district to get you out of the primary and then, after the primary, you have to flip to a city-wide campaign.  It's a lot of work so thank you to all who have stepped up to run. 

(In the past, some in Seattle have advocated for City Council seats to be by neighborhood or region and I suspect the same kind of voting set-up would take place.)

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

To continue asking stupid questions: I do live in District 1 (pretty sure; I'm in precinct SEA 36-1388), but I don't have any school board spots on my ballot. I'm going to call King County elections, assuming I can get someone on the phone, but can anyone here explain?

Scrawny Kayaker

word said...

Why isn't Ballard - or the school we use which is in District 1 - listed on the district map?

word said...

Shoot - we are technically in District 4.

Hope you all vote out Peter Maier!!

Anonymous said...

Doh! Finally found the director district maps. I thought I was in Maier's district, but I'm in Bell's. I guess I knew that a couple of years ago.

Scrawny Kayaker

Anonymous said...

The 36th Legislative District actually has a small piece of School District region 1. It also has a small piece of School District region 2. Much of the 36th LD overlaps with region 4.

School District regions are oddly shaped beasts that don't correlate with Legislative Districts.

DWE

Kathy said...

Incumbents have an enormous advantage having been through an election.

I've recently learned voter pamphlet guides CAN NOT be updated to reflect endorsements- even through the GENERAL ELECTION.

Candidates such as Sharon Peaslee and Michelle Buetow are being endorsed through organizations throughout the city- however- this will NOT show up within the voters guide..even for the general election.

I recommend checking out candidate web-sites for updated endorsements.

Kathy said...

Scrawny Kayaker,

Visit the King County Election site. There is a way to type in your address and find out your district.

Kathy said...

Scrawny Kayaker,

Visit the King County Election site. There is a way to type in your address and find out your district.

Kathy said...

Word and Scrawny Kayaker,

Be sure to contact friends and relatives within District 1. Please remind them to vote.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed in how the current board listens to and responds to families. They equivocate ("well staff has a pretty hard job"), they patronize ("did you talk about that problem with your principal?"), they belittle your persistence ("oh, it's really just a few complainers") and they are shockingly over-reliant on what staff tells them.

But how do we know these new candidates won't turn out exactly the same? Have we really ever had a good effective (smart) board? And what about independence?

Not motivated
Sick of trying

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Not motivated,

I understand your frustration and share some of that jaded weariness. After all it wasn't so long ago that I was weeping with joy at Obama's election absolutely certain that things were going to CHANGE.

I have had similar worries about electing new members to the Board. I remember being very impressed by Harium, Sherry, and even Steve at a candidate forum I attended before the last election. I thought they had great potential to set things in order and regain the confidence of the community. And I really believed that they cared about teachers and would listen to our voices when it came time to make far reaching decisions. I have been nothing but disappointed.

This time around I am taking the time to really read the statements, listen to the candidates, and see where their campaign money is coming from. I have been yearning for challengers, for people who have the best interests of parents, teachers, and students at heart, and I think we have them.

I agree with all of Melissa's endorsements and I have a lot of hope that some of the really egregious decisions made over the past 4 years can be reversed or mitigated.

Imagine if Betty Patu had some allies, who also asked tough questions and then had the courage to vote no. That's what I am hoping for. In any case, it can't be any worse than it is now.

-dismayed teacher

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sick of trying, I hear you. I always worry about what we will get because the learning curve is so great (for nearly all candidates).

Have we ever had a smart Board? We've certainly had no end of smart people on the Board but somehow things go wrong (or the district still isn't progressing).

I think the lines are a little more sharply drawn this time, however. Unless the challengers are all pretending, I don't think we're going to have a pushover Board.

KG said...

If anyone is sick of trying then the incumbents have won. We must try just as we must help Obama by calling your senators and representatives. Same goes for state and local issues. Attend Board meetings, speak your mind and
things will begin to change.

Charlie Mas said...

I've said it before. I'll probably say it again.

The fact that all of your efforts are futile does not excuse you from the obligation to make those efforts.

"But how do we know these new candidates won't turn out exactly the same? Have we really ever had a good effective (smart) board? And what about independence?"

We don't know, but we need to try.

We have had a good, effective Board. I think the Board with Brita Butler-Wall, Mary Bass, Irene Stewart and Sally Soriano was a good board. They would have been more effective if they weren't hobbled by a superintendent who undermined their efforts at every turn, blamed the Board for everything he did wrong, and whined to the press about it at every opportunity.

Anonymous said...

@Charlie, "I've said it before. I'll probably say it again. The fact that all of your efforts are futile does not excuse you from the obligation to make those efforts."

The truth is that making those efforts is like hitting one's head against a brick wall. This District is so clannish and clickish (and Enfield is right in there making it happen). Staff must think that Board members who raise an eyebrow are quaint, they (staff) are so beyond accountability. Like they manage parents, staff manages the Board. The Board allows it. Occasionally we see Sherry Carr have a huff and a puff. Harium makes a noise. Really. And none of them take Betty seriously. Kay - way down on my list these days. We need some visionaries for the Board given the inbreeding in the District Central Office. Somebody needs to clean house - with a vision. I don't see any visionaries in the current board or among those running.


Been there, done that.

Marty McLaren said...

I have a vision of schools with strong principals where they, the staff,
interested parents, and others, can work together to design and offer
programs that fit the community's needs.

I envision schools where principals and staff control their own
resources,

schools where standardized testing occurs no more than once per year,
where learning, not testing, is the focus,

schools in which mutual respect and a sense of belonging empower
everyone -- students, teachers, and staff to put their best selves
forward,

schools supported by central administration, not dominated by it,

schools in which money is carefully managed, not wasted on top-down,
unproven initiatives, and is passed on to buildings where staff can be
creative in stretching dollars,

a school board that creates policy describing the results desired be the
community, and the means by which they will be attained, and finds a way
to delegate appropriately to staff

This is not finished nor polished, but it's too late for me to write more.

Paul said...

Thanks Marty

Now that, is "one issue" we can all get behind.

Hurry and win girl!

Mark T. Weber said...

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Linh-Co said...

Joan and I will be on the overpass on Aurora waving banners for Sharon Peaslee and Kate Martin from 4:30-5:30pm Thursday (tomorrow). We would love to have you come out to keep us company and show your support.

Contact me by email @ rickbmail@yahoo.com or just come by. Thank you.

LaCrese Green said...

Charlie says: We have had a good, effective Board. I think the Board with Brita Butler-Wall, Mary Bass, Irene Stewart and Sally Soriano was a good board. They would have been more effective if blah, blah, blah!

Oh, my, I can't believe you said that! How could you? What were you thinking? Are you ------? You are ------!

You haft to be joking. Please, tell me this is only a joke. PLEASE!!!!!

If it's not a joke, then --

Bro. Charlie, this is the first time in my entire life, I mean, since I’ve known you and I’ve only known you a short while, that I find myself diametrically opposed to your judgment and polarized thereat.

I give up! Further discussion is pointless.

Be assured, more to follow!

To all who’ve read thus far, have a good day.

Paula said...

Dear LaCrese Green

If it helps any, I think you left out the disfuctional element that made the Board Charlie referred to a "less than good" Board: Director Flynn (she of the crying, screaming, hissy fits nothing short of John Boerner emotional dressing down of EVERYBODY).

If we are looking backwards, lets look at all of it to get a true picture.

AND the most conniving child of them all: Dick Lilly (STILL hasn't grown up and taken off Don Neilsen's leash).