In Our View: Stoker, Licerio for Vancouver Public Schools, Pos. 2

Incumbent solid on district’s issues; newcomer earnest but uninformed

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The race for Position 2 on the board of Vancouver Public Schools comes down to an experienced leader vs. a newcomer seeking to make a difference. The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends that Mark Stoker and Anthony Licerio advance out of the Aug. 1 primary to face off in the general election.

That outcome appears likely, considering that a third candidate — Shantel Okorie — will appear on the ballot but says she has dropped out of the race. While Stoker and Licerio are poised to advance, we again must note that our recommendation is simply that — a recommendation. The Columbian trusts that voters will study the candidates and the issues.

During an interview with The Columbian’s Editorial Board, it became clear that Stoker is well-versed on those issues and is a strong candidate to remain on the school board. He has served since 2007, helping to shepherd the district through the Great Recession and through necessary changes in public education.

Licerio comes into the campaign with a focus on closing achievement gaps for underprivileged and minority students. In his campaign materials, he writes, “I will work to provide equitable access to resources no matter who you are or where you live in the district and address the systemic issues that impact our quality of life and the education of our students.”

Licerio is an earnest candidate with a desire to improve schools, but he also is an inexperienced one. When asked how much money district has in its annual budget, he answered, “No clue.” Licerio can enhance his candidacy for the general election by continuing to examine the issues and the inner workings of the school board.

We wish him well, believing that a competitive race between two strong candidates better serves the public. In the meantime, The Columbian recommends Mark Stoker and Anthony Licerio in the race for position 2 on the board of Vancouver Public Schools.