Mike Blackaby, left, leads an Ontario School Board meeting in January of 2020. He is looking to get re-elected to the board. He resigned from the board in July that year after some on the board sought to suppress legal findings regarding a tort claim filed by board member Eric Evans, who is also pictured.
VALE — Only four of the 68 openings won’t have candidates on the ballot for this year’s Special District Election which will be May 16.
The filing deadline was 5 p.m. Thursday, with the majority of candidates waiting until the last week to file. As of March 9, only 33 had done so.
Most boards had just enough candidates for the open seats, with some long-time incumbents bowing out. This includes Cheryl Cruson and Mark Wettstein, from the Treasure Valley Community College Board of Education.
None of the incumbents for the three seats on Ontario School Board filed. As such, the community will pick replacements for Craig Geddes, Eddie Melendrez and Eric Evans. Among those is Bret Uptmor, Antonio “AJ” Sunseri and Mike Blackaby, the latter of whom resigned from his position in July of 2020. He left over lack of transparency, when some on the school board fought to suppress legal findings from multiple items that a lawyer had researched regarding a tort claim filed by Evans that year.
Sunseri is also running for the TVCC Board of Education, where he will face Torie Ramirez for the seat held by Wettstein.
There will be races for seats on the college board, as well as boards in some of the smaller school districts, including Juntura, Nyssa and Adrian.
Following is the official list of candidates for school boards sent from Malheur County Clerk Gayle Trotter the evening of March 16.
• Malheur Education Service (4): Incumbents Les Linegar and Jill Conant; new candidates Amy McGourty and Newell George Cleaver
• TVCC Board (4): Incumbents Betty Carter and Stephen Crow; new candidates Lindsay Norman, Sunseri and Ramirez
• Jordan Valley (2): Incumbent Zack Dufurrena; new candidate Rick Hawker
• Ontario (3); new candidates Bret Uptmor, Blackaby and Sunseri
• Juntura (2): Incumbents Emilee McKay and Ethan Bentz; new candidate Karly Bentz
• Nyssa (3): Incumbents Jeremy Peterson, Maribel Ramirez, Don Ballou Jr.; new candidate Roberto Escobedo
• Annex (2): New candidate Melanie Roukema
• McDermitt (2): Incumbent Tammy Wilkenson
• Adrian (2): Incumbents Eddie Kinkade and Bobby Davis; new candidate Misty Yost
• Harper (2): Incumbent Garrett Bentz
• Arock (2): Incumbents Bryan Grenke and Mikal Lequerica
• Vale (2): Incumbents Michael McGourty and Darlene McConnell
Sunseri is an employee of the Argus Observer.
For more information, including who is running for rural road assessment, fire protection, cemetery, health and recreation districts, visit https://bit.ly/MalCoElex or phone the clerk’s office at (541) 473-5151.
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