School Board Trustee Kevin Garrison won’t seek re-election this fall, the Zone 5 representative told the Idaho Mountain Express on Wednesday morning.
Garrison hadn’t filed candidate paperwork and said he decided this week that he will not do so before the window closes Friday.
That leaves Hailey businesswoman Lara Stone alone on the Zone 5 ballot—and, for Garrison, that’s good news. He was “on the fence” about running for a new term prior to Stone’s filing, he said, driven by concerns over who the group I-Care—a vocal antagonist of the district administration and board, particularly Garrison—might put forward. Stone’s announcement was a relief, he said.
“Seeing Lara’s name come out, I thought, ‘Thank God,’” Garrison said. “Lara Stone is not a candidate I worry about. She’ll do a great job. She already has—she’s helped us out a lot.”
As an at-large member of the district’s Finance Committee, Stone worked alongside Garrison—the board’s liaison to the group—during the run-up to the district’s successful bid for a supplemental levy in 2018. This year, she’s advised the committee in an informal role as it prepares to recommend seeking a new plant and facilities levy during the 2020 election.
Garrison plans to make Stone’s role official at the board’s regular September meeting next week by adding her to the committee’s roster. And, if the Zone 5 seat remains uncontested, he intends to offer Stone his spot at a statewide trustee training session in Coeur d’Alene this fall.
Garrison was appointed to the school board in February 2017 to replace former Trustee Elizabeth Corker, who stepped down that January. An engineer by trade with an MBA specializing in finance and marketing, he used his tenure to take aim at the district’s mounting budget crunch as the board member most engaged with its ad hoc Finance Committee.
“We’ve done some good things with our budget, and with our efforts to educate all kids, and not just the privileged or motivated few,” he said. “It’s been an excellent experience—something I’ll always remember and value.”
The Indian Creek resident will serve out the rest of his term. Afterward, he’ll stay active with Blaine County youth leading Scouts Wood River Valley, a local offshoot of Boy Scouts of America.
“I’m not a politician,” Garrison said. “I had no intention of using this as a career stepping stone. I saw a chance to help when the community needed it.”