East Valley school districts have 28 school board seats available in the upcoming Nov. 4 election. However, as of Monday, only 18 candidates have turned in their paperwork to fill those seats.
The deadline to file is 5 p.m. Wednesday.
School board members are volunteers who decide everything from hiring superintendents and determining school boundaries to choosing a name for a school and approving how much teachers are paid. Meetings are usually twice a month.
Three seats with four-year terms are available in most of the East Valley school districts including Higley, Queen Creek, Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa and Scottsdale unified districts, Tempe Union High School District, and Tempe and Kyrene elementary districts. The East Valley Institute of Technology District has four seats open.
No one has applied yet for the seats open in the Queen Creek Unified School District.
The deadline for filing nomination papers as a write-in candidate is 5 p.m. Aug. 20 for districts where only one or no candidates have filed.
“In the event that only one or no candidate files nomination papers for a school governing board position, the election for that office may be canceled by the County Board of Supervisors, effective Aug. 21, 2008,” Hope Olguin, elections specialist with the Maricopa County Superintendent’s Office, wrote in an e-mail. “Under these circumstances, the candidate who has filed in a timely and appropriate manner may be appointed by the County Board of Supervisors to fill the office upon the expiration of the current term.”
If no one runs, the county schools superintendent appoints someone to the seat, usually in January.
In the Gilbert Unified School District, incumbents Helen Hollands and Lily Tram are running to retain their seats.
Hollands, 48, will be running for her third term.
“Having placed Dr. (David) Allison in superintendency, I see some exciting opportunities for change and growth, and I would like to be part of it,” said Hollands, who is also the president of the Gilbert Fine Arts Association and a board member of Catholic Healthcare West East Valley.
Tram, 39, was appointed to the board in April to fill the seat vacated by Traci Klein. She said she decided to run because there’s “still a lot to learn.”
“I feel that by putting my time and effort into this, it’s benefiting students, and I’m interested in fulfilling my time this way,” said Tram, a senior financial services manager at Arizona State University.
E.J. Anderson and Adelaida Severson have also signed up to run for the Gilbert school board. Both applied earlier this year to be considered for the vacancy. Thirteen candidates applied for the open seat to which Tram was appointed.
Severson, 43, said she’s passionate about education and was encouraged to run because of her background. She has a doctorate from ASU in public administration and is a former board president for St. Anne’s Little Flower Montessori School in Gilbert.
Anderson did not return a phone call Monday for comment.
For more information on running for the school board, and to see the list of candidates, visit www.maricopa.gov/schools.