Snohomish school board race between
Incumbent Shaunna Ballas (left) faces challenger Christina Ridges for a seat on the Snohomish school board.
SNOHOMISH — A Snohomish School board election has incumbent Shaunna Ballas running for re-election against challenger Christina Ridges.
Election ballots begin arriving in mailboxes this week.
Shaunna Ballas joined the school board 12 years ago.
Ballas said in a written statement that she “is running for school board because she loves children, and wants the opportunity to continue working alongside our community of parents and educators, empowering kids with an excellent educational experience and ensuring that they have a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment to learn in.”
Ridges said she is running because she is a mother and has been worried about the schools for awhile. She said her plan is to get back to the basics of the school system like when she was a student.
Ridges believes that the school board is in need of a refresh and can provide a new perspective.
Ridges also said that masks and vaccines should be optional in schools. Ridges’ pencil-themed campaign covers various topics including Critical Race Theory (CRT), masks and vaccines and sex education.
Ballas “fully supports” the mask mandate within schools.
“We owe it to our kids, their families and our school teams to give our kids the best chance for normalcy during these anything-but-normal times. To have children miss out on this critical learning time due to an outbreak is something we can prevent,” Ballas said in a written statement.
When it comes to equity in the classroom, Ballas wants to address the individual needs of each student, and wants to support the ones who are in need.
Ridges is strongly opposed to the teachings of CRT, stating that she believes it to be dangerous and that it points out the differences in one another.
On CRT, Ballas emphasized by phone “CRT is not being taught within the Snohomish School District, but discussions on equity, equality and inclusion are discussed in every discussion.”
By email, she said “the district is committed to providing our children with the truths of our history, and to creating a safe and respectful environment for this learning to occur.” She said CRT “is better suited for college level study.”
Bullying is one topic both candidates plan to address.
Ridges said that she plans on further addressing bullying and reaching out to already established anti-bullying campaigns. She plans on doing this by researching what is already in place for bullying and how to improve upon it.
In an email, Ballas noted the district “implemented an anonymous tip line and that there is a strong desire to help eliminate or reduce bullying” and noted the district’s School Resource Officer and mental health counselors also are part of the resources.
Ballas said in a phone interview that she believes that the biggest opportunity “is to build on an aleady great system in such a way that it will help our children navigate through social-emotional learning gaps currently and move forward” and to bring the community together.
Ridges said by phone that “the greatest opportunity before us is the children dealing with COVID-19, and how to better support the students who have been affected by it.”
Ballas also noted by email she plans to advocate for universal pre-school. “To eliminate this barrier to learning would be a huge help for many children,” she wrote.
The school board election is for a four-year term.
Elsewhere, incumbent school board member Jay Hagen has a write-in challenger, Sarah Ricci.
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