Four school board seats now wide open

Menashe is last of the incumbents to forgo re-election try

With two Portland school board members dropping their candidacies just before the filing deadline, none of the Portland school board members whose terms are ending are running for re-election.

That means there will be four new members on the seven-member board after the May 20 election.

Until Thursday, a battle was shaping up between the former head of the Portland teachers union and the former chairwoman of the school board.

But Debbie Menashe, a current board member who last year served as chairwoman, withdrew her candidacy Thursday and threw her support to Dilafruz Williams, a Portland State University education professor, who filed her candidacy before the Thursday deadline.

Richard Garrett, ex-president of the Portland Association of Teachers, filed earlier this week to run for Menashe's board seat.

Three other seats on the seven-member board also are up for grabs, with board Chairwoman Karla Wenzel, board members Sue Hagmeier and Ñ just this week Ñ board member Marc Abrams having decided not to run for re-election.

Abrams had filed for re-election but withdrew Wednesday.

Hagmeier said it would have been difficult to campaign during the next couple of months at the same time that the school board probably will deal with even more budget cuts and other major issues.

'Another big reason for me is my own personal budget realities,' Hagmeier said. 'For eight years of being on the board, I've either been unemployed or underemployed. It's very hard to be fully employed and be on the board.'

Board members are volunteers and often work 30 to 40 hours per week on board business.

School board candidates must live in specific school board zones but are elected citywide.

The deadline for filing to run for a board seat was the end of the day Thursday. As of noon Thursday, these candidates have filed to run:

• Five hopefuls seek Wenzel's Southwest Portland seat. Jim Davis, a former board member of the Multnomah Education Service District, owns an athletic wear store; Terry Olson is a retired Hillsboro teacher; Robert Black Jr. is in an insurance broker; Ron Stull runs a wholesale steel company; and Eamon Molloy is a community activist and nonprofit leader.

• Three candidates have filed for Hagmeier's inner Southeast and inner Northeast Portland seat. Louie Sloan is an alternative school teacher in Portland's David Douglas school district; David Wynde, a regional vice president with U.S. Bank, is a board member of the nonprofit Portland Schools Foundation; and John Sweeney is a land management consultant and former Multnomah Education Service District board member.

• Running for Abrams' seat are James West, a Portland Community College student; James Laidler, a physician; and John Ball, chief operating officer for Multnomah County government.

• Besides Garrett and Williams, one other candidate has filed to run for Menashe's Southeast Portland board seat: Jon Jacob, a computer consultant.

Contact Todd Murphy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..