Incumbent Vancouver school board members Dale Rice and Edri Geiger share much in common, not the least of which is a passion for improving schools. For 20 years and six years, respectively, Rice and Geiger have helped steadily improve the district even in the midst of an economic crisis (more than $9 million was cut from the Vancouver schools budget this year alone). Public opinion of the district’s performance was reflected, in part, when voters last year approved a maintenance and operations levy by a 2-to-1 margin.
But in their campaigns for re-election this fall, they face different struggles. For Rice, it’s not much of a struggle at all. His opponent — political newcomer Bob Travis — became unelectable when The Columbian reported he had posted inappropriate photos on his personal website. Travis said it was “a stupid idea,” and both the local teachers’ union and the Building Industry Association of Clark County revoked their endorsements of Travis.
By contrast, Geiger faces a stern test from a quality challenger in Tom Kemp, a successful local businessman whose glass and window company has grown even during the economic slump. Kemp has the kind of calm, rational approach to public service and keen business sense that could be effective in elected office. But Geiger’s steadfast attention to detail and extensive background in many areas of education warrant her continuation on the school board.
The Columbian endorses Dale Rice as a slam-dunk choice for re-election, and Geiger is the recommendation to continue her contributions in innovative programs and productive relationships with both educators and legislators.
We like that Rice and Geiger each have indicated a willingness to push for more sacrifices from unions in contract negotiations. And we’d like to see Kemp run again for another office. His no-nonsense approach to business decisions blends well with an amiable approach to team efforts typically seen on elected boards.