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Noriega and Helstein vie for college board spot, others file for East County school board seats

PMG FILE PHOTO - Diane NoriegaMt. Hood Community College has the first contested race among the 22 school board seats that are open in East Multnomah County in the May election.

Diane Noriega, who served on the MHCC board from 2011 until 2015 and was chair for two years, has thrown her hat in the ring to rejoin the college board.

Courtney Helstein, who works for the international political consulting firm Strategies 360, will run against Noriega for the seat formerly held by Michael Calcagno who resigned earlier.

Andrew Speer, has filed to run for the Zone 3 seat, currently held by Teena Ainslie. Speer, a former U.S. Marine, is an economist and a regulatory consultant at Portland General Electric.

Tamie Tlustos-Arnold, who has served one four-year term on the MHCC board, filed to retain her position.

School board members act as trustees for the public education system. Members work as much as 20 hours per week as unpaid volunteers overseeing school districts. They must understand the complex workings of a school district from curriculum to finance to facilities.

Two incumbents have filed for two of the three open positions on the Reynolds School District. Yesenia Delgado and Ricki Ruiz have filed to run for the seats they currently hold.

All four incumbents in the seats in the Gresham-Barlow School district — Kris Howatt, John Hartsock, Mayra Gomez and Jeff Gibbs — have already filed to be on the May ballot.

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.

Five of the seven positions on the Centennial School Board are open, which could mean a majority of new faces on the board. Nobody had filed for any of the Centennial positions by press time.

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

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.

The school board approves the curriculum such as books and materials teachers use to educate kids. It keeps an eye on the condition of school buildings and decides about whether to ask voters for money for facilities improvement and how much.

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

Monday, Feb. 11, was the first day candidates could file to run in the election. Candidates have until Thursday, March 21, to submit paperwork to run. The election is Tuesday, May 21, and ballots will be mailed to voters on Wednesday, May 11.


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