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Four Gresham-Barlow incumbents filed for reelection, 5 seats open in Centennial, 3 in Reynolds

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Kris Howatt, the current board chair of the Gresham-Barlow school board has filed to run for reelection. She's decked out for the district convocation last fall, one of the many events school board members generally attend. The race is on for the 22 school board seats open in East Multnomah County in the May election, one that will shape the educations of local students for years to come.

Monday, Feb. 11, was the first day candidates could file to run in the election, and by press time, six people have filed for the May ballot for local districts, all incumbents.

School boards play a vital role in the community and represent the citizens in the education of children. The school board is the community's watchdog for education, the National School Boards Association says.

Four of the seven Gresham-Barlow School District board positions are open. All the incumbents in the four spots have filed to be on the May ballot.

Kris Howatt, the current board chair, who has served since 2000, filed for reelection. John Hartsock, who has served on the board since July 2015, also filed to run. Mayra Gomez, who was appointed to fill a open spot in July 2018 and Jeff Gibbs, who was appointed to the board in January 2019, also filed.

Five of the seven positions on the Centennial School Board are open, which could mean a majority of new faces on the board.

Three Reynolds school board positions are open. Nobody filed for these seats by press time.

Three seats on Corbett School District board are up for reelection and nobody has yet thrown their hat in the ring.

Tamie Tlustos-Arnold, who has served one four-year term on the Mt. Hood Community College Board, filed to stay in her position.

Three of the seven Multnomah Education Service District seats are up for grabs in the May 2019 election with one candidate filing by press time. Kristin Cornuelle, a Princeton University-educated intellectual property attorney filed to retain her seat on the MESD board.

Candidates have until Thursday, March 21, to file. The election is Tuesday, May 21, and ballots will be mailed to voters on Wednesday, May 11.

The school board hires and fires the superintendent and sets policies for the district. It develops and adopts the all-important school budget, which sets priorities for how children are educated. It approves the curriculum such as books and materials teachers use to educate kids. It keeps an eye on school buildings and decides about whether to ask voters for money for facilities improvement and how much.

School board members are volunteers. They spend many hours per month in board and committee meetings, visiting schools and going to school events, reading documents, attending workshops and more.

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