Candidates running for the Board of Directors of the Ontario School District and Treasure Valley Community College were invited to attend a forum on Wednesday evening at Four Rivers Cultural Center. The forum was hosted by the Ontario Area Chamber of Commerce, with Chamber Board Chairwoman Cathy Yasuda serving as moderator for the event.
The 2021 District Director Election for Malheur County will be on May 18, and ballots have been mailed out and should be arriving as soon as today.
Ontario school board
Seven candidates are running for four seats on the Ontario school board. It is noteworthy that incumbent Derrick Draper, who was running, resigned from the board on April 20, prior to his term ending. And Jeff Schauer, recently backed out of the race, however both of their names will still appear on the ballot.
Of those still intending to run, Tony Cade, Tom Greco, incumbent Blanca Rodriguez, Matt Stringer and incumbent Craig Geddes were present. Martin Mendoza, Jr. selected Janet Komoto to speak on his behalf and read from a statement he prepared, as he was out of town. Cydney Cooke was not present.
Also noteworthy, Cade is in a lawsuit with the school district regarding his former coaching and teaching positions at the school.
All of the candidates used their time to express why they wish to be elected to the school board.
Cade said that “it’s all about the kids” and said that he wanted to get input from the community and the kids. Geddes said that he is “community-minded” and wants what is best for the community. Greco said that he “loves this community” and “loves the diversity.”
Mendoza said he wants to give back to the community and seeks “community inclusion.” Rodriguez said she wants to address the “needs of the students” and Stringer said that the Cultural Center has been visited by thousands of students since he joined the staff.
Why this position?
Cade said that he wants to see “kids succeed” and “have opportunities.” Geddes expressed that he wants to be a “voice for the community.” Greco said he wants to be part of a board that can “respond in a civil manner.” Mendoza said he wants to “contribute towards quality education.” Rodriguez said she wants to be “part of continued success” and see “good results in student outcomes.” Stringer said he wants to be a “voice of reason” for the school board driven by student needs.
Treasure Valley Community College Board of Directors
Four seats that are opening up on the Treasure Valley Community College Board of Directors will be sought after by six candidates on May 18, including Cooke, who is also running for the Ontario School Board. All of the candidates, except Cooke, were at the forum; this included incumbent Betty J Carter, Dirk De Boer, incumbent Roger Findley, Ken Hart and Christopher Plummer.
Hart also serves on the Ontario City Council.
Carter thanked everyone for attending and that she is “grateful this evening” to have the opportunity to serve on the board. She is running unopposed for Position 2 on the board. De Boer said that he “really likes to think outside the box” and talked about being involved firsthand with a product or operation. Findley emphasized his background in education, notably his teaching and service at the college. Hart opened by encouraging all in attendance to get vaccinated and said “how lucky” we are to have a community college in the middle of the community. Plummer he spoke his “great experience” working with various departments at the college and the foundation.
Why this position?
Carter said that her experience serving on the board has allowed her to “see through different lenses” about what the college provides to the students and said she has “the best interests” of the college “in her focus.” De Boer thinks “the college can do more for the community” and said that the community needs employees who are better trained and educated. Findley said he’s been in this position for two terms and was approached by community members who encouraged he run for the third. He said he has “a lot of good memories” at the college. Hart said that he has been so impressed with the work that has been done so far and to continue to “grow our own” talent for the community from students at TVCC. Plummer said that even before the pandemic, “colleges were closing at an alarming rate” but he “has faith in the school and community.”