Candidates focus on funding, teaching as race nears end

By Allison Espiritu

Staff Reporter

Nearing the end of this fall's race for Snoqualmie Valley School District board of directors, candidates for districts 1 and 3 are using the last few weeks to promote their priorities.

Candidates Scott Hodgins and Paul Houldridge, racing for district 1, and Craig Husa and Kevin Bardsley, seeking position 3, are focused on budgets, teaching, school capacity, technology and communication.

District 1

Hodgins is a 15-year citizen volunteer who has supported schools on district committees, curriculum adoption, finance and capital facilities. Hodgins hopes to use his background to give him leverage to help solve the district's challenges in facilities, acquiring new schools, increasing capacity and managing the budget.

Touting experience on the King-Pierce Schools Coalition, Hodgins said he helped to bring money and capitol funding for the coalition, and hopes to do the same for Valley schools.

"My background is school construction and dealing with school budgets," Hodgins said. "My experience level and knowledge are how schools operate. My opponent has no school management experience at all."

Houldridge, a Valley resident who values education, said he would like to improve communication lines between the school district and community.

Aware of his opponent's involvement and support with the current school district's direction, Houldrige said Hodgins is qualified for the job if the district wants keep things the way they are.

However, Holdridge sees a lack of technology in how the district communicates with the community.

"I have been frustrated with trying to communicate with the school district and board about things, and I'm not getting answers," he said.

One difference between the two candidates are their views on the district's finances.

Hodgins hopes to help raise more money to be able to spend it on education, while Houldridge would like to spend money as efficiently as possible to reach the district's goal of academic excellence.

"He's a part of the establishment," Houldridge said. "I'm a new guy looking for some change and improvement."

District 3

Bardsley, the challenger for the third district seat, wants to use his 20 years of corporate business management to help bring academic progress in line with funding.

"We need to emphasize on our teaching," Bardsley said. "That's the importance that the community wants to hear. They're tired of hearing about raising taxes."

Bardsley is against raising taxes without solid support from the community.

Realizing that many families are on a tight budget due to the recession, he believes that the district will lose support for school systems by increasing taxes.

Bardsley's goal is to make sure the schools budget is spent correctly.

Husa was appointed to the district 3 seat last February. He said the district does have some room for improvement, but has also witnessed success. Husa believes a strong district equals a strong community.

Husa said he recognizes the importance of technology in the classroom in educating children with unique learning requirements. He wants the community to understand that "technology does not replace teachers, but enables tools to better address the needs of kids."

Husa would like to serve the district for another term, touting strong leadership, clear two-way communications, fiscal responsibility and support of district staff, parents, students and the community.

Running unopposed are Marci Busby for Director District No. 4 and Dan Popp for Director District No. 5. Ballots for the Nov. 3 election were sent out Friday, Oct. 16.

To learn more about board races, visit www.kingcounty.gov/elections

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