Forest Grove School Board's Jimenez likely, Hampton on the fence in May 21 election

Only one of three current Forest Grove School Board members is 100 percent certain he's going to run again for his position on the panel.

John Hayes, the board's current vice-chairman, said he'll toss his hat into the ring for election to Position 1 when the application window opens at the Washington County Elections Office Feb. 9.

The filing deadline is March 21. The vote-by-mail election is set for Tuesday, May 21. New or returning board members will be sworn in July 1.

"I will be running for the seat to which I was appointed last January," said Hayes, who retired as dean of Pacific University's College of Arts & Sciences last June. He added that if he's returned to the board, his main goals would be to work with Oregon legislators "to press upon them the need for increased school funding" and to engage more openly and regularly with community members "to hear their concerns and visions for education in the district."

Chairwoman Alisa Hampton, who occupies Position 3 and has served on the board since April 2008, originally announced last spring she would not run again. But last week she said she remains undecided.

"The environment has certainly changed over the last year, but I have a number of personal considerations in the mix also," Hampton said. "I'm still making up my mind."

And Gil Jimenez, who came on the board as an appointee the same time as Hayes last winter, has been hampered by health issues during the last four months. But on Friday he said he hopes to run again for Position 2

"My recovery is going well and assuming this continues, I want to continue to help (Superintendent Yvonne Curtis) and her team," Jimenez wrote in an email Jan. 11. "Count me in."

All seats on the board are for four-year terms. The terms of Hayes, Hampton and Jimenez are due to expire June 30. Kate Grandusky and Fred Marble, who serve in Positions 4 and 5, respectively, won't face reelection until 2015.

'Seriously interested'

Marble, who's been on the board longest at 12 years, said he was pleased with attendance at a district-sponsored workshop last Thursday that gave citizens a chance to quiz past and current board members about what it's like to be on the panel.

"There were several people who were seriously interested," said Marble, who's in the second year of his fourth term on the board. "They were able to get a feeling of what they'd be getting into."

Chief of Staff Connie Potter, who organized the workshop as part of the district's new Parent Academy series, said about 15 community members showed up to question past board members Dawn Pratt, Dick LaJuenesse and Ralph Brown, as well as Marble and Hampton, about their experiences.

"There was definitely a lot of interest," said Hampton, who gave a presentation about the role, responsibilities and time commitment of school board members.

"There were good questions from the audience and the panel did a fantastic job of sharing sincere and heartfelt comments, both pro and con," noted Hampton, who has weathered the closure of an elementary school, the recall of a pair of board colleagues and drastic budget cuts during her tenure.

"Folks seemed to appreciate the realistic, personal experiences that were shared, so that it wasn't just like a 'sales job' to get (them) to run for the board," she added.

School boards are governed by the Oregon School Boards Association. Forest Grove board members hire and evaluate the superintendent, establish district policy, approve the annual budget, guide collective bargaining and ask voters to approve bond measures and local option levies for facilities and operations.

Members are expected to attend two regular board meetings each month, Hampton told attendees. Other commitments are attendance at budget committee meetings, school events, district Parent Advisory Council meetings and building Site Council meetings.

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