A native Tri-Citian is taking on the longest-serving member of the Richland School Board.
Brett Amidan, a statistician at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is challenging Phyllis Strickler, who has held Position 5 on the board for 16 years.
Richland School Board members serve four-year terms and are paid $50 a meeting.
Strickler said her experience with Richland school issues is an important factor in "these critical times."
Several of the challengers in the Richland races haven't been to many school board meetings and show a lack of understanding of the issues the district faces, she said.
Strickler, a 69-year-old retired teacher with grown kids, said she has the time and the energy to serve on the board. She has missed four meetings in 16 years, she said.
Amidan, who grew up in Richland, has two jobs -- working a flexible schedule at PNNL and teaching at Washington State University Tri-Cities.
The 43-year-old, who has three school-aged children, said having kids in the district should be seen as a positive for a school board member.
And having so many interactions with Richland residents through his work allows him to "quickly get a feel for what people think" on any given issue, he said.
The Herald recently published a letter to the editor written by Amidan in which he charged the board with acting prematurely in loaning Jefferson Elementary money to buy students computer tablets.
"It's the spending I have an issue with -- not the technology," he told the Herald. "I'm not upset that they're getting iPads."
The board didn't look at other ways to help out the school with the most low-income kids in the district, he said.
The $20,000 loan from the district will be repaid through fundraising, Strickler said. The school almost has raised that amount, she said.
The remaining $40,000 comes out of the district's technology budget, which is "appropriate for such a program," Strickler said.
"I expect to see good results (from the program)," Strickler said. "We had enough background to make the decision. I think it's a good deal."
Both candidates said they would like to see the district's Instructional Materials Committee define what it means it recommends a novel "with reservations."
Strickler has been the most conservative voice on the school board when it comes to approving novels for the classroom.
Amidan said he's not as conservative as his opponent, but that he's not worried about maintaining a philosophical balance among members.
"I would prefer reason over balance," he said.
His election website is brett4rsb.com. Strickler does not have a website.
The election is Nov. 8. Ballots are being mailed this week.
For more election stories, go to tricityherald.com/election.