Terhune leads, but Position 3 race could be a real squeaker

This one could take awhile.

Based on unofficial election results from Tuesday’s special election,

the Tigard-Tualatin School District will see at least two of its three incumbents returning to the district office this fall.

Dana TerhuneBut for incumbent Dana Terhune, things are too close to call after battling three candidates in her search for a second term.

Terhune, who was first elected to the board in 2009, faced fierce competition on election night and is currently leading the race with about 38 percent of the vote, followed closely by Tigard resident John Goodhouse, with 35 percent, based on early results from both Washington and Clackamas county election offices.

It’s a difference of less than 300 votes, and with roughly 3,000 votes still uncounted across the county, Goodhouse said he’s not ready to admit defeat just yet.

“A lot of people conceded on Tuesday night, but part of me is holding out and waiting to see what happens,” Goodhouse said.

John GoodhouseMore definitive numbers should be in place by Friday, according to the Washington County election’s office. Results aren’t official until they are certified by the secretary of state’s office in June.

Gooodhouse said the tight race signifies a broken model of education.

“In a sense, schools need to be more of a business model,” Goodhouse said. “Each family is a client, and schools need to figure out what they can do to meet our customers’ needs, instead of being a monopoly and saying, ‘Here’s our product.’”

Terhune said the close race symbolizes the need of the board to better communicate what with the public, which often only interacts with the School Board when it makes cuts to programs.

“It’s an eye-opener for me,” she said. “I need to figure out how communicating with people would work best for me.”

During the campaign, Terhune suggested monthly meetings with parents and staff to get an update on what she, and the rest of the board, are working on.

But budget cuts will still be a reality in the district for the next few years, Terhune said, with an uncertain budget future on the horizon.

“We looked at what was so essential that we can’t cut it, and we’ve moved past that now. Now we’re cutting the essentials,” she added.

Terhune said the situation is like trying to cut off a finger. “Now we’re asking, ‘Maybe a pinky is not quite as important as an index finger.’ I don’t know about you, but I use all my fingers. I don’t think people have an appreciation of where we truly are.”

The candidates were fighting for an open seat in Position 3 on the School Board.

Each of the candidates brought something different to the table: Terhune, the incumbent, spent four years learning the ins and outs of how the district functions and said she wanted to continue work she had set out to do in 2009, when she was first elected.

Goodhouse, who ran unsuccessfully for the Tigard City Council in 2010 and the Oregon House of Representatives in 2012, had name recognition on his side. A strong advocate for charter schools and voucher programs, Goodhouse campaigned on a plan to encourage competition among schools in the district and expanding relationships with local businesses to teach students a trade that they can take with them into the real world.

Goodhouse said he still hopes to make it to the Legislature eventually, but decided to run for School Board because many of his plans for Salem involved education.

Coming in third in the race is corporate attorney David Matheson, who said he wanted to improve communication between parents and the district and bring more voices and perspectives to the table when considering options.

A fourth candidate, William Barber, appeared on the ballot but pulled out of the race in March. He claimed roughly 3 percent of Tuesday’s vote.

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