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None of the board's incumbents ran for reelection, so board majority will be newcomers

COURTESY PHOTO: REYNOLDS SCHOOL DISTRICT - Don't forget to vote in the May 18 election.

The Reynolds School District School Board will look very different come June 30.

Four seats, a majority of the board is up for grabs in the May 18 election and not a single incumbent decided to run for reelection. Four of the seven seats will be filled by newcomers to the board.

The volunteer terms for all four of those elected in May will end June 30, 2025.

Position 1 has four candidates on the ballot. One, Curt Schultz, has withdrawn from the race. His name will still appear on the ballot because he did not make his decision in time for it to be removed. He's thrown his support behind Jim Kight.

Kight declined to submit information for this article.

The Outlook asked the candidates a few questions and their answers appear below.

Position 1

Aaron MuñozCOURTESY PHOTO - Aaron Munoz

Age: 24

Occupation: Student

Children in Reynolds schools: 0

School meetings attended in the last year: 3

Favorite children's book: Brothers of the Knight by Debbie Allen.

What is the one thing you think the school district could do better?

The school district needs to be more sensitive to the needs of our children in the special education program. Currently those kids graduate at half the rate of those children outside the program. Clearly we are not doing enough for those children. With the issues that COVID-19 brings the district need to do more to bring services to students with learning needs who can't go into the school.

Charles CrowderCOURTESY PHOTO - Charles Crowder

Age: 42

Occupation: Owner and manager of Minuteman Press, Gresham.

Children in Reynolds schools: 1 current, 3 graduated.

School meetings attended in the last year: 0.

Favorite children's book: Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer.

What is the one thing you think the school district could do better?

Communication. Communication is key to continued improvement and better engagement in our diverse district. Improving the communication to and from the students, teachers and staff will help ensure timely and effective resolution to issues, improve involvement and better understanding of policy, procedure and future growth. If elected, I intend to learn the thoughts and ideas of others (the students, staff and parents); to help improve the communication within the district, and to help implement ideas and solutions brought from them.

Position 2

Spencer ChaoCOURTESY PHOTO - Spencer Chao

Age: 37

Occupation: Sales

Children in Reynolds schools: 1

School meetings attended in the last year: 0

Favorite children's book: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series, by Alvin Schwartz.

What is the one thing you think the school district could do better?

Fostering an environment that would encourage more family involvement with their students and the local education system, bringing various ideas, concerns and solutions to the discussion for implementation. Diversity means more than just a box to check off on an application. It may sound nice, and we'll pat ourselves on the back, but it does little service to students and their families.

Matt RichardsonCOURTESY PHOTO - Matt Richardson

Age: 28

Occupation: Banker

Children in Reynolds schools: 1 future Reynolds student.

School meetings attended in the last year: 5.

Favorite children's book: Tuffy's Travels, written by my grandmother.

What is the one thing you think the school district could do better?

I think the most important thing for the district to focus on is a continued effort to meet the wholistic needs of its students. As much as possible, we need to make sure every student is able to come to school and focus, regardless of whatever else is happening at home. This includes further developing community partnerships to supplement the social emotional needs of all students.

Position 3

Michael ReyesCOURTESY PHOTO - Michael Reyes

Age: 40

Occupation: Education Specialist, Oregon Department of Education.

Children in Reynolds schools:  1 current, 1 will attend.

School meetings attended in the last year: 0, but I have been part of other boards for nonprofits and government.

Favorite children's book: Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls.

What is the one thing you think the school district could do better?

The Reynolds community is incredibly diverse. Our families bring a wealth of cultural and life experiences, and our district should actively and authentically engage them whenever decisions need to be made. We also need to ensure our staff and teachers reflect our student population. This means our teachers should share the same cultural background and life experiences as our students so they can connect with them in positive and impactful ways.

Position 4

Bill StewartCOURTESY PHOTO - Bill Stewart

Age: 60

Occupation: Retired middle school teacher.

Children in Reynolds schools: 3 graduated.

School meetings attended in the last year: 0.

Favorite Children's Book: The Real Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka.

What is the one thing you think the school district could do better?

The Reynolds District needs to have a laser focus on academics. While Reynolds does many things well, like diversity, we fail to achieve the same high standards in academics. Greatschools.org reports Reynolds students overall minimum competencies for English and math at only 36% and 21% respectively. As parents and educators, we are entrusted with producing a new generation capable of solving tomorrow's problems. Success in this depends on providing them essential academic tools today.

Name: Cayle Tern COURTESY PHOTO - Cayle Tern

Age: 43.

Occupation: Human services worker, community advocate. 

Children attending Reynolds schools: 2, 1 coming up.

Number of school meetings attended in the last year: 0.

Favorite children's book: Horton Hears a Who, by Dr. Seuss.

What is the one thing you think the school district could do better?

The Reynolds School Districts student body consist of 67% student of color while its faculty is roughly 92% white. There are 72% of our students experiencing poverty and 10% experiencing homelessness. Students are confronted with systemic issues that make it harder to learn. We need to get better at providing a better learning environment by having a faculty that is representative of its student body and schools that can help families address social issues. 

Sidebar

Key May 18 election dates

- April 28 ballots were mailed to voters.

- May 11 last day for voters to safely return ballots by mail.

- May 18 election day.


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