Incumbents retain seats in majority of school board races

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

Published:

Updated: November 6, 2013, 10:30 AM

 
photoKathy Nordberg
photoJulie Bocanegra
photoJim Pegoraro
photoKathy Gillespie
photoBlaine Peterson
photoJulie Rotz
photoBecky Greenwald

Incumbents retained their seats in the Evergreen, Vancouver, Camas and Washougal school districts Tuesday.

Hockinson featured the only school board race in which the incumbent lost. Ron Arp, the board chair, was defeated by Kathy Nordberg, 43.1 percent to 56.4 percent.

Only seven of 25 races in seven school districts were contested.

The Evergreen Public Schools race was separated by only 354 votes on Tuesday night. Incumbent Julie Bocanegra, 41, led with 50.9 percent. Her challenger, libertarian Daniel Poletti, received 48.2 percent.

From her home Tuesday night, Bocanegra said her biggest tasks include "finding ways to reach every kid, overcoming the poverty issue in this district and finding out what is going to make every kid successful once they leave our program."

The only contested race in Battle Ground was for a position vacated by school board President John Idsinga, who did not seek reelection.

Jim Pegoraro, 63, an equipment parts purchasing manager, received 50.1 percent of the votes, leading Mitchell Taylor, 49, a client services manager for a software company, by only 149 votes.

"I know it's going to be a hard job," Pegoraro said on Tuesday night. "We've got the superintendent position to fill. That's going to be a time-consuming job to get through that." The Battle Ground school board has been scrutinized since it released its $401,715 secret departure agreement with former superintendent Shonny Bria in late June.

In Vancouver Public Schools' only contested race, incumbent Kathy Gillespie received 53.25 percent of the votes. Her challenger, Lisa Phifer Ross, received 45.64 percent.

Other incumbents winning contested races Tuesday were Julie Rotz in Camas and Blaine Peterson in Washougal.

In Ridgefield, an open position will be filled by Becky Greenwald, who received 61.6 percent of the vote over Chuck Green.