Board seats up for grabs in the Scappoose and St. Helens school districts attracted newscomers and in some cases placed incumbents on the defensive for the May 17 special selection. In Scappoose, the result was a mixed bag as a long-time board member was ousted, while two incumbents retained their seat.
Scappoose School District School Board
Longtime board member Joe Lewis was ousted by newcomer Tim Brooks in the race for Zone 5.
Brooks took 52.6 percent of the vote over Lewis' 46.9 percent. The two candidates were separated by just 141 votes.
When asked, Brooks said he has no apprehensions about taking over a position on the board that has been held for many years by the same person.
"If I didn't think I could do the job I wouldn't have put in for it," Brooks said.
Brooks added that he feels honored and humbled by the results and is looking forward to serving the community.
Lewis, who has served on the board since 2000, said he wishes Brooks "nothing but success for the future of the school board," and said it has been an honor and privilege to be on the board.
"I have the greatest respect for administration and staff, from the district office folks to the teachers in the classroom, to the people that work in the halls and on the playing fields of our district," Lewis said in an email to the Spotlight. "I would like to thank all of them ... for all that they've taught me about how important education is in our world."
In the most contested race on the school board — the race for the Zone 3 position held by Lisa Maloney — four candidates vied for the spot, each promoting different priorities if they made it on the board.
In the end, Maloney retained her seat, receiving 44 percent of the vote, followed by Mike Bradley who took 34.3 percent of the vote. A 250-vote margin separated the candidates.
Maloney stated in an email to the Spotlight that she was pleased with results across the district, and added she is "optimistic this Board can gain a clear vision for the education of our students and improve the level of trust and transparency with the community and parents."
In the final race for Zone 4, Phil Lager took 55 percent of the vote over Donny Leader, who came away with 44.3 of the vote.
Lewis and Lager did not respond for requests for comment by the Spotlight's press time Thursday.
St. Helens School District
In St. Helens, three board candidates all ran in uncontested races. One newcomer, Trinity Monahan, ran unopposed in the board seat being vacated by Gordon Jarman. Monahan took 97.3 percent of the vote, with 2.6 percent going toward write-in candidates.
Kellie Smith and Jeff Howell, both current board members, retained their seats on the board. Smith took 97.7 percent of the vote, with 2.2 percent going toward write-in candidates. Howell took 98.2 percent of the vote, with 1.7 percent going toward write-in candidates.