8 people apply for Pasco School Board vacancy

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldMarch 13, 2013 

Eight people submitted applications to fill the seat on the Pasco School Board vacated by Jeffrey Dong.

Applicants include a Franklin County assistant public works director, the general manager of Yoke's Fresh Market in West Richland and some who have voiced support for the district's bond proposals.

Board members will spend this week reviewing the applications ahead of public interviews next week, according to a timeline from the district. A new board member is expected to be sworn in before the end of the month.

Dong, a retired Pasco High School teacher, resigned his seat Feb. 12. Elected in 2010, he hasn't attended meetings since late September 2011 because of medical issues.

He last participated by phone in a board meeting in March during a work session, according to district officials. Dong's term runs until 2015.

Applicants for Dong's seat include Gary Iverson, a board member of the Southeastern Washington Cavalcade of Bands; Matthew Rasmussen, an engineer and assistant public works director for Franklin County; Jennifer Rieke, an art integrationist and environmental educator with Friends of the Mid-Columbia River Wildlife Refuges; and Darrell Toombs, general manager of the Yoke's Fresh Market in West Richland, who wrote a letter of support of the district's failed 2011 bond proposal.

Others are John Sawyer, one of three people who wrote a statement in support of the district's recent and successful $46.8 million bond;Garrett Stark, a former Columbia-Burbank School Board member; and Pasco residents Scott Lehrman and Patricia Jones.

Candidates will be interviewed by board members next week followed by a special board meeting March 21 with public interviews. Board members then will have a closed-door discussion before selecting a new member.

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