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Seattle School Board narrows candidate field for open seats

caption: The Seattle School Board dais.
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The Seattle School Board dais.
KUOW Photo/Sami West

The Seattle School Board is getting closer to replacing two board members, who stepped down last month amid questions about their residency.

In a unanimous vote Wednesday, the board narrowed the field of candidates for the District 2 seat from 11 to four: Sarah Clark, Danielle Gahl, Shawn Sullivan, and Carol Thompson.

The spot was previously held by Lisa Rivera, and includes the Ballard, Green Lake, and Magnolia neighborhoods.

Only four Seattleites applied for the District 4 seat last held by Vivian Song, so they're all finalists. They are: Gabriela Gonzalez, Joe Mizrahi, Rachelle C. Olden, and Laura Marie Rivera. District 4 spans neighborhoods including Fremont, Queen Anne, Westlake, and Belltown.

The school board shakeup comes at a turbulent time: The district faces a $105 million budget deficit next year, among other challenges like a youth mental health crisis and rising concerns about school safety.

Board President Liza Rankin thanked all the applicants for their interest in the board — especially at such a pivotal moment.

"We didn't expect to be appointing two vacancies amidst an already very busy time for our district," she said. "And it was really encouraging and heartening, and we're just grateful to have had the opportunity to consider appointments from such a large, qualified group of candidates."

The search for two new board members continues with a candidate forum slated for the evening of March 27 at Lincoln High School. The district says it'll provide more details soon.

To learn more about the candidates and review their applications, visit the district website.

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