Board Announces Process to Fill Betty Patu’s Seat

The Seattle School Board has put forth the process for choosing and seating a successor to Director Betty Patu who is stepping down from her post in District 7,effective July 1. 2019. She has served for a decade and the Rainier Beach High School library will be named in her honor.

As the process notification states, by state law, Patu’s departure before the regular election cycle means the current Board will choose her replacement who will then serve out her term of roughly two more years. Then, in November 2021, there will be a regular election for a four-year member. The Board hopes to swear in its newest member on August 28, 2019.
Starting on Monday, June 17th, the public, along with school communities and all those members - teachers, students, parents, staff, etc - are “invited to provide feedback on questions asked of candidates.” The Board will use that input to help create the questionnaire candidates will fill out and for use at public forums with the finalists.

The Board has also created a survey which has been translated into several languages. It is also available, in several languages, in a paper form.  This will also be available Monday, June 17th.

Applicants will apply via a letter of interest that outlines their experience along with a resume stating why the applicant believes he/she/they is the best person to sit in this post. This is due by Friday, June 28th.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, registered voters and live within the District 7 boundaries.

On Friday, July 5th, there will be individual candidate webpages available for viewing that include their application materials.

On Friday,July 19th, the completed questionnaires will be available for viewing, again on each applicant’s webpage.

In late July/early August, there will be a public forum at RBHS library from 6-9 pm. All candidates will be there and allowed time to share why they want to serve. It is stated that, depending on the number of candidates, there may be questions from the community. (I would think the Board could use survey data to see what are the most important issues and ask a couple of questions that each candidate may answer.)

The forum will be videotaped and shown on Channel 26. A Facebook Live event will run as. well. There will be translation into several languages including American Sign Language.

Later in August, if there are many candidates and the Board has to whittle that down to three, there may be an additional forum.

There will then be a Board Special Meeting to vote on applicants with the winner being sworn in on Wednesday, August 28th.

To note, the primary for the regular election cycle for four Board positions is on Tuesday, August 6th. We will know at that time if current Director Zachary DeWolf has cleared the primary in his desire to be on the Seattle City Council. If he doesn’t make it thru the primary, then we will know only four positions are in play (even then, the candidate in Rick Burke’s current post in District II, Lisa Rivera Smith is virtually assured to be on the Board because she is the only candidate running).
Director Patu has one of the most diverse districts with many involved communities of color so a deep knowledge of that area will be important. I hope the Board picks someone who has a history of being involved in district issues - not just individual school issues - as the learning curve to serve is huge. I also hope the Board picks someone who understands serving on a school board is a team effort.

I’m sure this process will not please some. I have heard rumblings that many groups want access to candidates but then how many groups and which ones becomes difficult. I’d have to ask the Board but perhaps several groups could have a forum or meet-and-greet event of their own.


Anonymous said…
Just to be clear and also correct your assumption, district 7 issues do not reflect the issues in other districts. Do not think that the issues of district 7 are anymore important or pressing than any other districts issues.

Stop pandering

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