North Mason Dist. School Board 5 positions to win

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The potential for continuity within the North Mason School Board will be determined in the Nov. 2 general election as District 5 incumbent Arla Shephard Bull takes on challenger Michael Curtin.

With District 2 Director Leanna Krotzer running unopposed, the District 5 race is the only question mark for voters. Shephard Bull joined the North Mason Board of Directors in November 2020 after applying to fill a vacancy left by former District 5 Director Craig Patti, who has left the District.

The other trustees of North Mason are Art Wightman of District 1, Laura Boad of District 3, and John Campbell of District 4.

The Kitsap Sun asked Shephard Bull and Curtin to answer a three-part questionnaire regarding the general election.

Bull Arla Shephard

Age: 34

Current job: Marketing coordinator for Mason Health

Q: Why are you applying for a position on the school board?

A: I volunteered last November when my predecessor moved. During my previous career as a reporter for the Mason County Journal and the Kitsap Sun, I developed strong ties with the district. My husband later became a specialist teacher. Over time, I have seen the trust erode between the district and the community. There are hard working people in the schools, and yet, as evidenced by the failures of the levies, the community does not agree with the district.

I have a reputation for listening to people from different angles. People from all political walks trust me and hope that I will listen to them. As an effective communicator, I can help the district share positive stories that are happening behind the scenes and I can communicate any parent concerns to the district.

My specific passions include strengthening the district’s special needs program and expanding the district’s early learning opportunities.

Q: What do you think are the most important issues in your district?

A: In a rural neighborhood that will always be in competition with richer and more populous neighborhoods, one of the biggest problems is recruiting and retaining highly qualified staff. After more than a year of distance learning, we are also facing a substantial learning loss among our students.

And, related to those two issues, is the fact that the district is getting by on much less, due to its inability to impose a tax to support academic and after-school programs. Our previous CFO, Ashley Supry, did magic to stretch every dollar and recoup every penny offered by the federal government and the states, in terms of pandemic relief.

The district must continue to be financially responsible, in the event that the community does not approve the current request for the levy. And we must continue to invest in technology and in our people to meet our critical needs.

Q: The district had to rebound after two collection failures before the pandemic. As a board member, what would you do to ensure that the district continues to build tax trust with clients?

A: The District must act in a fiscally responsible manner AND we must communicate effectively with clients what we do to be fiscally responsible.

Last spring, I voted with the board of directors to “refinance” the terms of our existing 2013 bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates. This decision saved taxpayers over $ 7.6 million over the next 16 years. This is just one example of how the district is actively seeking cost savings.

We need to pursue cost-cutting measures and then communicate what we have done, so the community understands that we are making wise decisions with their money. I am committed to sharing these stories as they happen, and have already helped the district share through social media. The pandemic has hampered our ability to share in person, but, when I could, I have spread the word in the community, parents and business groups to which I belong.

Michel Curtin

Age: 57

Current job: Retired Marine Corpsman (medical) and combat veterinarian

Michel Curtin

Q: Why are you applying for a position on the school board?

A: I am running for the North Mason School Board because I love children, my community and my country. Children are the future of this country. Our schools are facing a watershed moment. Our schools and our society are inundated with radical and dangerous philosophies. The goal is to undermine our families, our society and our country. School should be a place where students learn to read, write, calculate and do history. Schools should be a safe place for everyone. Schools should not undermine the values ​​of parents. I currently have four children in the school system and am concerned about the history and sex education curriculum. I will fight to defend our values ​​and the innocence of our children. I will fight against the mask and vaccine mandates. I firmly believe in the right of people to choose what is best for the medical needs of their families.

Q: What do you think are the most important issues in your district?

A: School should be a place where students learn to think, not what to think about. Our schools and our society are inundated with radical and dangerous philosophies. I will fight against this. Our students should be able to learn history as it happened, and not as some imagine it to undermine our society. No critical breed theory. Bathrooms and changing rooms should be safe and not a place for social experimentation. Organic boys shouldn’t be on women’s sports teams.

Parents must have a say in all procedures and medical devices used and worn by their children (masks and vaccines). I will work to improve our schools, so that our students don’t just meet standards, but exceed standards. Keeping our schools financially responsible will be a priority. I will answer you the voter and no other entity.

Q: The district had to rebound after two collection failures before the pandemic. As a board member, what would you do to ensure that the district continues to build tax trust with clients?

A: I have worked to support the current tax and I ask my supporters to support the current tax. I am a budget conservative and will work hard to meet the needs of our schools while reducing costs. I own my house, so I feel the effects of taxes. Communicating with the voter, explaining the needs and assuring voters that only what is required is required is the key to building trust with the voter.


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