OUTLOOK ENDORSEMENTS: Elect Muñoz, Chao, Reyes, Tern to Reynolds School Board
The Reynolds School Board will look very different come June 30. Four seats — a majority of the board — are 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 May 18 will end June 30, 2025.
There's a lot on the plate for this district, which hasn't found the answers to a graduation rate that consistently lags behind the state average, and where overall academic test scores rank in the bottom 50% of Oregon schools.
These new board members will work hand-in-hand with school district administrators in crafting strategies aimed at improving overall academic achievement and raising the number of students who graduate on time.
CANDIDATES: Aaron Muñoz and Jim Kight
In a district where Hispanic children comprise the largest percentage of total enrollment (43%), it stands to reason that this demographic should be equally represented on the School Board. This is one of the reasons for our recommendation of electing Aaron Muñoz to the Reynolds School Board.
Muñoz has a background in community volunteerism with Metro parks and Portland Public Schools, which provides a foundation for taking a seat on the school board.
As a member of the board he'll advocate for greater involvement of parents and guardians in their children's education. And he understands first-hand the difficulties of overcoming language barriers.
He's also sensitive to the needs of children in the special education program who graduate at half the rate of students outside the program.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: Elect Aaron Muñoz.
CANDIDATES: Spencer Chao and Matt Richardson
Neither of these candidates has any prior government experience to draw upon as they enter this race, so they both start from the same position of preparedness for this important leadership role. From that perspective, it's difficult to know which way to vote.
Of the two, Chao seems to demonstrate the greater passion for this role. He will support efforts to increase family involvement with their students and the local education system.
Given the importance of diversify among the board members — mirroring the student population of the district — we'll give the slight edge to Chao.
RECOMMENDATION: Elect Spencer Chao.
CANDIDATE: Michael Reyes
Michael Reyes is an education specialist for the Oregon Department of Education. He's a shoe-in for the race because he's running unopposed.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: Elect Michael Reyes.
CANDIDATES: Cayle Tern and Bill Stewart
From a pure experience perspective, Bill Stewart has the advantage with credentials in leadership in municipal government and related committee appointments. That's worth noting. There's no question that Stewart would be an able member of the Reynolds School Board.
Yet it's his opponent in this race, Cayle Tern, who's better positioned to confront issues faced daily by students of color. As a school board member, these would be his priorities:
• Strengthen partnerships with community organizations and leaders.
• Work toward building an education system where all kids feel welcome and reflected in the curriculum.
• Make sure all kids have access to comprehensive health services.
• Help teachers create a positive learning environment, and ensure the safety of all students.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: Elect Cayle Tern.
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