The Kennewick School Board is due for change. Three members largely work as a bloc, sometimes stifling discussion.
Too often, the other two members don't get the chance to contribute all that they're capable of bringing to the table.
That needs to change.
London v. Mabry
Your most important vote in breaking that bloc may be between Wendy London and Ron Mabry.
Since filing for office, London has moved to Seattle. The move came too late to take her name off the ballot so technically you can vote for her, but you shouldn't.
If she wins, London will immediately resign and the school board will appoint someone to fill her position. A vote for London is a vote for the school board to appoint one of its own. In a letter to the editor on Oct. 7 London explained the situation and said, "Please don't vote for me."
We agree with London, vote for her opponent, Ron Mabry.
Mabry has an master's in business administration and works at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He has been active on the Kennewick Civil Service Commission for more than three years.
Creek v. Brooks
Rarely have we seen a candidate as determined to serve as Uby Creek, who is making her third run for the Kennewick School Board in the general election.
Creek has struggled to be elected to a board that is strongly allied in two camps. If she holds to her pledge to remain independent and evaluate each decision on its merits -- she would be a breath of fresh air on a board that is far too focused on internal politics.
She has a solid background in education. Creek used to work in the Kennewick schools and now works for Educational Service District 123 in Pasco.
Creek, who grew up in a family of migrant farm workers, was the first in her family to graduate from high school. With a Hispanic student population of 30 percent, the district could certainly use someone with Creek's background and language skills to help bridge the gap with Spanish-speaking parents and students.
Her children went to Kennewick schools and she is committed and passionate about the district, regularly attending board meetings and workshops as an interested citizen.
Brian Brooks, Creek's opponent, is a newcomer to district politics. In an odd twist, he was appointed by the school board to fill a seat vacated by Wendy London in August, the day before the primary election. Brooks was already running for Position 4 against Creek when the appointment took place.
Protocol would usually dictate a board not appoint someone already in an active race, but the Kennewick School Board often goes its own way. Brooks has no doubt gained some good experience in his two months or so on the board, but he hadn't attended a meeting before his appointment.
He is earnest in his interest in education and is certainly willing to do homework, reading through volumes of school board meeting minutes. He is a physical therapist and is the board treasurer for Columbia Physical Therapy with 14 branches in three states. His strong financial background would be an asset to the board.
But we want to see Creek have her due. She's more than proved her commitment to the workings of the Kennewick School Board. Since her first run for the position in 2007, she has gained a wealth of knowledge, studying and digesting the business of being a board member.
She is the right choice for students and parents.
White v. Messinger
Kathy White has been busy on the Kennewick School Board, taking on more than the basic duties of the job and educating herself about the duties of a school board member.
White acknowledges there is a division on the board and feels like her hands have been tied for the last four years. She would like to see some team building exercises, mediation among board members and a rotating board president. These seem like good ideas to us.
But were concerned that White has been on the board for one term already and says she strongly believes in term limits. If elected, this will be her last term. She would be, essentially, a lame duck.
That's one of the reasons we are recommending her challenger, Ben Messinger.
Messinger is the father of children in the Kennewick District. He's a financial manager and is accustomed to working with large budgets.
Certainly balancing a budget will be one of the big challenges for every school district in the state over the next few years, and his expertise will be handy.
Of course, the job entails more than managing money. It's about academics and changing demographics and coping with ever-increasing enrollment.
Messinger is energetic, intelligent and, in our opinion, ready for the challenge.
In the board needs to find ways to work better together for the future.
The Herald editorial board recommends Ron Mabry, Uby Creek and Ben Messinger for Kennewick School Board.