At 5:01 p.m. last Friday, Laurie Kaufman, clerk of the board for the Blaine County School District, reported to the Idaho Mountain Express that only three people had filed declarations of candidacy for the two seats in contention in an upcoming school board election. The deadline for filing was 5 p.m. that day.
Of the board’s five seats, the two up for election this year are the Zone 2 seat, encompassing south Hailey and now held by school board Chair Steve Guthrie, and the Zone 4 seat, encompassing the west Ketchum area and now held by Trustee Paul Bates.
Both Guthrie and Bates filed for re-election for another four-year term. No one filed against Bates, but Guthrie has been challenged by Hailey resident Kathy Baker, co-president of the Hailey Elementary School PTA and an active participant in School District activities.
The trustee election will be held in conjunction with the state primary election on May 21.
Bates has already been effectively elected, since state law provides that if there is only one candidate for a trustee post in any taxing district, then no election is required.
Guthrie, on the other hand, must defeat Baker to retain his post.
Guthrie was first elected to the school board in 2009. He has served as school board chair, elected twice by his fellow trustees, for the past two years.
“My intentions to run for re-election on the Blaine County School District board of trustees are based on the continued success and opportunities offered to all students enrolled in Blaine County schools,” Guthrie wrote in a statement to the Express. “During the past four years, I have established professional relationships with BCSD administrators, teachers, support staff, students, state and local government officials, Idaho School Board Association representatives and peer school board members throughout the country.
“These relationships and learning experiences are priceless and have given me the tools and knowledge to lead and participate on the BCSD governing board. My goal as the incumbent BCSD candidate is to ensure continued oversight of student achievement, district budgets, policy, community outreach, future sustainability and above all else act as advocate on behalf of our School District and community of Blaine County.”
In addition to her PTA service, Baker is a frequent attendee at school board meetings and a volunteer on various district committees.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to serve the families of Blaine County as a school board trustee,” Baker wrote in a statement to the Express. “As a parent of elementary and middle school students, I bring a perspective that is interested in supporting academic excellence in Blaine County right now as well as into the future.
“I believe I can provide a balanced approach to the school board, as I am interested in a gold standard education for every student to span the spectrum of all grades and all learning styles. I am committed to do what is right for all students, even in the face of opposition.”
Bates could not be reached by press deadline Tuesday for comments about his reasons for seeking re-election.
Terry Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org