This election season, with so much money pouring into the King County executive race and the media attention given to the Seattle mayor’s race, School Board races have received far fewer eyes.
But with a new student assignment plan, Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson’s five-year strategic plan starting to take off and a $34 million budget gap, this election is as important as ever for the board.
In the District 5 race, Seattleites have the choice between Mary Bass, an eight-year board member known as the dissenting voice on the board and Kay Smith-Blum, a businesswoman and fundraiser with big ideas that could be challenging to implement.
Smith-Blum won the primary with 42 percent of the vote; Bass got nearly 36 percent. Smith-Blum has raised five times as much money: $52,000 compared to Bass’ $10,000.
Bass, who unsuccessfully fought the reform math curriculum that was passed 4-3 in this year, said she is “proud of my long track record of fighting failures.” Her battles include the $34 million budget collapse when she recently joined the council in 2002 and fighting the race tiebreaker, she said.
Smith-Blum appears to have energy, a knack for fundraising and passion for both early education and extending the school day with more cultural and arts programs. She said she established the first-ever Annual Fund for Montlake Elementary in 1991, helping raise $300,000 in five years.