Like the race for the Zone 6 At Large position, the Zone 1 race for the Bend-La Pine School Board has three capable candidates who would all be strong advocates for schools, students, teachers and administrators in the district.
Chet Liew is an IT professional working for TDS Communications, running on a platform of promoting safety, equality and access for all students in the district. Mark Capell is a former Bend city councilor and a local business owner with an IT background who wants to prioritize public safety and infrastructure. Capell also offers some interesting ideas around initiating a local option to help fund operating costs in BLPS, and has a long record of service in the community. Caroline Skidmore is a speech pathologist who works with special needs kids and serves on the advisory council at Cascades Middle School. She also helped launch the local Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense chapter and serves as part of the local Citizen's Climate Lobby group.
While we were impressed with each candidate's knowledge and commitment to offering the best education for local kids, it's in Skidmore that we see the strongest candidate. Working directly with kids in her day job is a plus—but it's her current commitment to a number of other causes that are important to students as well as the wider community that make her ready to serve on the board at the present time. We value much of Liew's rhetoric around fostering an inclusive culture that honors diversity in our schools. We also think his ideas around pooling community resources to mitigate bullying, or to increase students' knowledge around technology are efforts worth pursuing. On those issues, however, Skidmore has a more ready-to-go knowledge base, with what appears to be a more working knowledge of restorative justice practices and the best practices around bystander training—a knowledge base that can help the board set stronger policies around these issues.
We would also support Capell in serving on the district's budget committee to work toward a local option that would help shore up district budgets and help keep class sizes and teacher workloads in check. If the Oregon Legislature fails to set aside adequate funding for schools during this session, a local option will be ever more important.
Still, on the other issues facing schools, Skidmore appears more ready to lead. While Liew also advocated for more inclusivity, Skidmore homed in on mental health training as a vehicle for creating safe schools and addressing students' needs—along with promoting inclusivity and kindness at the same time. And while each candidate said they'd be in favor of allowing contraception at local community based health centers (something not currently in practice, due to past school board direction), Skidmore also brought up the notion of training around consent—a topic that should be at the forefront of conversations at every secondary school. While the other two candidates are certainly capable of getting up to speed on these issues, and seem to share similar values around funding, safety and school cultures, Skidmore is simply more versed and ready to lead.
Vote Caroline Skidmore for Administrative School District No. 1, Zone 1.