One race for the Richland School Board wouldn't have been in the primary if challenger Jhoanna Jones had dropped out before the June 16 deadline instead of after.
Primary elections are only required for races featuring more than two candidates.
The top two vote-getters from the Aug. 16 primary will face off in the Nov. 8 general election. Primary ballots are in the mail this week.
As it stands, Jones' name will appear on the ballot -- and voters can check the box next to her name for Position 4. But at a recent candidate forum, it was announced that Jones has withdrawn from the race, though she couldn't be reached this week to talk about why.
Two candidates remain in the running -- incumbent Mary Guay and challenger Brian Barth.
School board members are elected to four-year terms leading the district of nearly 10,000 students. They receive $50 per school board meeting they attend, but no other compensation.
Guay, 83, has served on the school board for 12 years. She also was on the board for eight years in the 1970s.
She has lived in the Tri-Cities since 1958, but left for 10 years during that time. Guay's five children went to schools in the district, and two of her grandchildren just graduated in Richland.
She worked in accounting before she focused on raising her children.
Guay said she can offer continuity while the district is moving into some new programs, including the current evaluation of the effectiveness of instruction in the district.
Guay said she is proud of her involvement in getting rid of the standardized tests that were mandated by the state until last year. She and the rest of the Richland School Board were involved in lobbying against the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, she said.
Guay also is a member of the legislative committee of the Washington State School Directors' Association. She knows legislators and how to lobby them on behalf of Richland students, she said.
The greatest challenges teachers and administrators face in Richland is that poverty rates have risen, causing many parents to be less involved in their children's schools because they're just too busy trying to make ends meet, Guay said.
Barth is a 47-year-old project manager for a local construction company. He moved to the Tri-Cities a little more than two years ago and has three children in Richland schools.
Barth was a teacher before he switched careers 14 years ago. He taught social studies and Japanese in Las Vegas.
He has managed several school construction projects, including the new Center for Career and Technical Education at Columbia Basin College, he said.
With his understanding of building issues from the contractor side, Barth said he could help keep costs under control for school construction projects in Richland.
Barth is a member of the district's Instructional Materials Committee, which reviews books taught in Richland classrooms, including novels used in high school English classes that some parents found offensive.
He said the book controversy in Richland was not his main reason for running for the school board. As a board member, he said he would listen more closely to the recommendations of the committee and pay attention to community standards. But he would not want to change the current book policy, he said.
Guay also said the book policy should be left alone. She would like to involve the public more in what's being read in Richland schools, she said.