Washougal school board has one contested race

Incumbent Peterson, challenger Moran offer different perspectives

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

Published:

 
photoBlaine Peterson

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photoJeanie Moran

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Candidates with two different perspectives on school district experience are on the Nov. 5 ballot in the Washougal School District.

Incumbent Blaine Peterson is being challenged for the District 3 spot by Jeanie Moran in the Washougal school board's only contested race.

Peterson has been on the board for more than six years; he was appointed to fill a vacancy in March 2007. Peterson said he applied for the spot because "I feel it's important to give back to the community."

In addition to his time on the board, Peterson brings experience in the field of finance to the position.

"School budgets are pretty complex," Peterson said. "A financial background is something valuable I can offer."

Moran can offer classroom experience as a physical education teacher in the Camas district.

"I would hope to bring an understanding of the daily lives of students," Moran said. While she has things to learn about the financial side of a school district, Moran said she would hope to provide a good balance with other members of the board.

Peterson said his top priority is to continue offering a variety of experiences to educate the whole student -- and that includes a new generation of classroom technology.

"One of the things we're looking at is a pilot project on iPads," Peterson said. So far, they've been provided to children in one fifth-grade class in each of Washougal's three elementary buildings.

"We've seen significant increases in student learning as well as increases in attendance," Peterson said.

Since there might be other factors, "we want to expand that, in a reasonable manner," Peterson said. "We're moving forward to all fifth- and sixth-grade classes in all three buildings, to see if the things we're seeing originally are true."

District officials noted that during some iPad rollouts across the nation, students took them home and found ways to beat the security systems. "Our iPads stay at school, for the most part," Peterson said.

Moran says classroom overcrowding is her No. 1 priority.

"I think there are more students than a teacher can help in a day, and I'd like see the student-teacher ratio reduced," Moran said.

"Financially, things are tough everywhere, but you can make your money back academically" as well as in student behavior when teachers can better connect with students, she said.

Both candidates can cite volunteer roles in the district of more than 3,000 students.

"I volunteered for the past six years in the classroom and for activities like movie nights, ice cream socials, book fairs," said Moran.

Peterson has served as board president of the Washougal Schools Foundation as well as a member of school booster clubs.

Incumbent Ron Dinius is running unopposed in District 5.