Two Snoqualmie women vie for school board spot - Carolyn Simpson
October 2, 2008 · Updated 10:43 AM
SNOQUALMIE - Position No. 3 on the Snoqualmie Valley School District Board of Directors is the only contested position this fall for the district. Board member Rudy Edwards is running unopposed in position No. 1, and Marci Busby was the only candidate to file for position No. 4.
Carolyn Simpson and Kim Horn will be running for the contested spot. Unlike elected posts in Snoqualmie and North Bend, the board of directors for the school district must reside in districts within the Snoqualmie Valley School District. District No. 3 covers the Snoqualmie, Fall City and Ames Lake areas. While Simpson and Horn must reside within a certain district to run for a certain position, everyone who lives within the Snoqualmie Valley School District votes for board members.
Following is background on Simpson and Horn, and their views on some of the major issues facing the district.
Simpson said she would become a member of the Washington State School Directors association to lobby for more state funding and hopes to have a good relationship with the district's teachers' union.
"I would want the union to know that my door is open," she said.
Academics, WASL and
Simpson said the district needs to "raise the bar" of its academics to keep up with state requirements for graduation. This year's 10th graders will be the first class required to pass all sections of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL).
Based on previous scores, Simpson said only 50 percent of this year's 10th graders will pass all four parts of the test. They will be able to re-take the test, but Simpson is worried that some sophomores who don't pass the WASL may become so discouraged that they give up on school entirely.
To help prevent students from dropping out, Simpson said she would like to get WASL scores back to students earlier (the tests are taken in the spring and students get their individual scores in the fall). If the students got their scores earlier, Simpson said they could immediately look into getting additional help that summer for re-taking the test or mentoring.
Simpson said her own experiences mentoring remedial math students at the high school has led her to believe students will learn if they are challenged, especially those who are doing just average right now.
As a volunteer at the high school, Simpson said she helped introduce more challenging classes, such as ninth-grade honors earth science, ninth-grade honors geometry and advanced placement (AP) world history.
"It [harder classes] will help them became competitive citizens in the work world, whether they are college-bound or not," she said.
Public involvement in how the district is governed is one of Simpson's top campaign platforms. She said the district has not had much dissension among its board of directors in the last couple of years (no position on the board has been contested since 1999).
She also said the public has been ill informed as to what the board has been doing. When the school district was contemplating moving school boundaries last year that would move students living in Snoqualmie to Chief Kanim Middle School (as opposed to Snoqualmie Middle School), Simpson said the process occurred with little public input until it was too late. Other meetings have been announced with little notice. When there was an all-day school board retreat planned earlier this year, it was published in the paper the day of the retreat.
"That is absolutely unacceptable," Simpson said. "The school board meetings [have been] primarily the district presenting a proposal and the school board approving it. There [are} rarely questions and there is rarely dissension."
Simpson said she would make sure the public became more involved in the decision-making process the board goes through.
"Especially since this school board is elected, I think it is absolutely vital to use this community in making decisions," she said. "And I talk not just for parents in the community, but for other involved community members, and students and teachers."
Vote for me,
not the other gal
Simpson said her experience at volunteering in different grades helps set her apart from her opponent. She has been a steady volunteer in all of her children's classes and has met with teachers and administrators on a range of issues, from academics to boundary planning. She also noted that her background in big-business finance will be useful as the district plans for growth.
Most of all, Simpson said, she has a passion for the district and wants to be sure the different viewpoints of parents and teachers are heard.
"I decided to run for school board when I determined that maybe the best way to help would be [to] direct the vision and provide the leadership for the whole district," she said.
* For information about Carolyn Simpson, visit www.simpsonforschools.com.