Mid-Columbia voters get many choices for school board

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldMay 20, 2013 

Many Mid-Columbia voters won't lack for choices in school board races this year.

Of the seven Tri-City school board seats up for election, just one is not contested. Incumbents in the rest of the districts are facing challengers.

In three races, more than two candidates filed, forcing the race onto the primary ballot in August. Then the top two vote-getters will move on to the general election in November.

One of the last to come in just under the filing wire on Friday was a Pasco School Board race.

Pasco Board President Sherry Lancon will face two challengers, Javier F. Ruiz and Taylor Franklin Taranto, according to online candidate filings posted by the Franklin County Auditor's Office.

Lancon was appointed to Pos. 4 on the Pasco School Board in 2007 and was re-elected in 2009. She recently retired from her job as a bank manager and has been involved in civic- and school-related organizations for years. Two of her children attended Pasco schools and several grandchildren currently do.

Taranto, 29, is a Tri-City native who moved to Pasco three years ago after serving in the Navy for six years. He is a small-business owner and is attending classes at Columbia Basin College. He and his wife have two young children they are homeschooling.

Taranto said the Franklin County Republican Party encouraged him to file for office because of his stance on education, though the position is nonpartisan. He said he would seek to overhaul the schools in Pasco, saying many people aren't aware of their options when it comes to how children learn.

"I totally believe in a parent's responsibility to educate their kids, not anybody else," Taranto told the Herald.

Ruiz could not be reached Monday. A fourth candidate, Natasha Woodward, withdrew her candidacy for Lancon's seat.

Two other districts each have one of their school board seats also going to a primary.

Richland School Board Vice Chairwoman Heather Cleary will face Jimmie D. Chastain II and Ron Higgins.

Kiona-Benton City School Board President Charles Gray is facing challenges from Ivan Howard and Daniel Johnson.

Here's how all the school board races in the Tri-Cities and Mid-Columbia break down:


w Pos. No. 1: Heather Kintzley (incumbent)

w Pos. No. 2: Dawn Adams (incumbent), Brian Bradford


w Pos. No. 3: William Leggett (incumbent), Steven A. Christensen

w Pos. No. 4: Sherry Lancon (incumbent), Javier F. Ruiz, Taylor F. Taranto

w Pos. No. 5: Darrell L. Toombs Jr. (incumbent), Amy L. Phillips


w Pos. No. 1: Heather Cleary (incumbent), Ron Higgins, Jimmie D. Chastain II

w Pos. No. 2: Rick Jansons (incumbent), Lloyd Becker

Kiona-Benton City

w Pos. No. 2: Charles T. Gray (incumbent), Ivan Howard, Daniel Johnson

w Pos. No. 3: Leslie Johnson

w Pos. No. 5: Dan Raap (incumbent), Wade Haun


w Pos. No. 3: William "Bill" Jenkin

w Pos. No. 4: Jermey Tuttle (incumbent), Christine Bryan


w Pos. No. 3: Priscilla Crane (incumbent)

w Pos. No. 5: Kenton G. Cox (incumbent)

North Franklin

w Pos. No. 3: Kara Booker (incumbent)

w Pos. No. 4: Pat Hailey


w Pos. No. 1: Troy Woody (incumbent)

w Pos. No. 2: Brad O'Brien

w Pos. No. 3: Sheena Kelly (incumbent)

w Pos. No. 4: Malcolm "Sonny" Townsend (incumbent)

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