The Kent School Board has extended the application deadline to Aug. 22 for a vacant position on the board.
The board hopes the deadline extension attracts more applicants to fill the seat vacated when Michele Bettinger resigned June 21. The initial deadline was July 21, which was extended by Superintendent Israel Vela until Aug. 17. The board added five more days at its July 27 special meeting with a controversial 3-1 vote.
Director Joe Bento voted against the extension because he said prior to the vote that the previous extension already had been made without him.
“We already announced that so is this vote a rubber stamp?” Bento said. “It was already decided, so why vote on it?”
Bento said he understood the idea to extend the deadline but he felt “excluded” from the original decision to extend it to Aug. 17. He said he checks his email daily but maybe he missed some critical information about the extension.
“To the best of my personal knowledge no vote occurred via email,” Board President Leslie Hamada said in an email to the Kent Reporter about any previous vote by the board. “I did not initiate one or participate in one. The actual motion made to extend last evening (July 27) again stated the superintendent initiated the first extension.”
Hamada said there were more than five applicants at one point but a few didn’t live in the District 2 boundaries. She said there were five applicants at the initial deadline that qualified and that one then withdrew.
Director Awale Farah made the motion at the July 27 meeting to extend the application deadline to Aug. 22 from Aug. 17. He said he wanted to attract more than four or five applicants.
“Why not increase that number to 20, 30 or 50,” Farah said at the meeting. “The more people we have, the better.”
Farah said as a person of color he wants to attract people of color to apply.
“This is very important to have someone, a person of color, to be here with me because lived experience speaks louder than anything else,” Farah said. “I sometimes look at rooms that only men are sitting in and they are discussing women’s issues and I go, ‘how do you know about a woman?’ But the reason I am using that as an example is because lived experience matters and we really need people of color to apply for this position because the district is more than 70% people of color.”
To meet the requirements for board members, an applicant must:
• Be a United States citizen
• Be at least 18 years of age
• Have a permanent residence within the boundaries of District 2
(For a map of District 2, click here)
• Be a registered voter
• Not hold another incompatible public office position
Candidates must submit an online application available on the Kent School District website.
All applications are due no later than 5 p.m., Wednesday, Aug, 22. Interviews will be in the Kent School District Boardroom located at the KSD Administrative Center on Wednesday, Aug. 31, when the board will select the new member. The duration of this appointment is September 2022 through December 2023. The appointee shall serve until the next regular school district election, at which time a successor shall be elected for the unexpired term.
The applicant selected by the board will be sworn in at the Sept. 14 meeting.
District 2 is in the northeast section of the district near Lake Youngs. Schools in District 2 include Kentridge High School, Northwood Middle School, Meeker Middle School and several elementary schools.
For more information, email KSDBoardVacancy@kent.k12.wa.us.