NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Peter Maier falls behind challenger Sharon Peaslee in key Seattle school board race

It looks like anoth­er incum­bent school board mem­ber may end up get­ting oust­ed by Seat­tle vot­ers, after it ini­tial­ly appeared that only one would lose his job.

Though he was able to main­tain an edge in the con­test for school board direc­tor in Dis­trict #1 for near­ly a week, incum­bent Peter Maier is now in seri­ous dan­ger of los­ing his seat. Today, he relin­quished the lead to chal­lenger Sharon Peaslee, who has claimed a sur­pris­ing­ly large share of the late bal­lots.

Peaslee is now nine­ty-one votes ahead of Maier, after hav­ing trailed by two thou­sand, nine hun­dred and nine­ty-two votes only a week ago.

If she pre­vails, she will join fel­low chal­lenger Mar­ty McLaren on the Seat­tle School Board. (McLaren is now well ahead of incum­bent Steve Sundquist after claim­ing an ear­ly lead on elec­tion night, and is the like­ly vic­tor in the race for Dis­trict #6.)

The two oth­er incum­bents who sought reelec­tion this year, Sher­ry Carr and Har­i­um Mar­tin-Mor­ris, appear to have been reelect­ed to new terms, though Car­r’s lead over chal­lenger Kate Mar­tin has shrunk sig­nif­i­cant­ly since last week.

Maier and Sundquist’s depar­ture would sig­nif­i­cant­ly alter the com­po­sure of the board, which has made a num­ber of bad deci­sions in recent years.

Maier and Sundquist pro­vid­ed two of the five votes in July of 2010 to extend the con­tract of ex-Super­in­ten­dent Maria Good­loe John­son, who the board unan­i­mous­ly oust­ed this last spring after it was dis­cov­ered that her admin­is­tra­tion had failed to pre­vent three dis­trict offi­cials from steal­ing a quar­ter of a mil­lion dol­lars from the dis­trict. (King Coun­ty pros­e­cu­tors have charged the three peo­ple respon­si­ble with felony theft; two of them have plead­ed not guilty).

Maier and Sundquist also refused to help pro­tect a grove of trees at Ingra­ham High School, which the school dis­trict chopped down after a pro­tract­ed fight with the neigh­bor­ing com­mu­ni­ty, led by NPI board mem­ber Steve Zemke.

Well-known Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton mete­o­rol­o­gist Cliff Mass is among those who cam­paigned active­ly for Maier’s defeat. In a post pub­lished to his weath­er blog on Octo­ber 22nd, Mass sum­ma­rized the con­test between the two as fol­lows:

Peter is clear­ly the weak­est of the board mem­bers and was the mem­ber who knew about the finan­cial prob­lems and kept qui­et about it. Did­n’t seem to care about math edu­ca­tion. Rub­ber-stam­per. I have known Sharon Peaslee for years.  She has a real back­ground in edu­ca­tion, has kids in the schools, and has worked active­ly for improved math edu­ca­tion. Sharon is strong-willed and will ask the hard ques­tions.  She is sup­port­ed by The Stranger and most of the local Demo­c­ra­t­ic orga­ni­za­tions, as well as Seat­tle teach­ers. Peter has a huge finan­cial war chest and is run­ning a huge num­ber of adver­tise­ments. Let’s hope that mon­ey does­n’t decide this race.

Maier still has a chance to win, but Peaslee seems to have sol­id and steady momen­tum. If the trend we’ve been see­ing con­tin­ues, Maier will be join­ing Sundquist in exit­ing the school board at year’s end.

Adjacent posts

  • Donate now to support The Cascadia Advocate


    Thank you for read­ing The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s jour­nal of world, nation­al, and local pol­i­tics.

    Found­ed in March of 2004, The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate has been help­ing peo­ple through­out the Pacif­ic North­west and beyond make sense of cur­rent events with rig­or­ous analy­sis and thought-pro­vok­ing com­men­tary for more than fif­teen years. The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate is fund­ed by read­ers like you: we have nev­er accept­ed adver­tis­ing or place­ments of paid con­tent.

    And we’d like it to stay that way.

    Help us keep The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate edi­to­ri­al­ly inde­pen­dent and freely avail­able by becom­ing a mem­ber of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute today. Or make a dona­tion to sus­tain our essen­tial research and advo­ca­cy jour­nal­ism.

    Your con­tri­bu­tion will allow us to con­tin­ue bring­ing you fea­tures like Last Week In Con­gress, live cov­er­age of events like Net­roots Nation or the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, and reviews of books and doc­u­men­tary films.

    Become an NPI mem­ber Make a one-time dona­tion

One Comment

  1. Hur­rah for Sharon! Change is deserved­ly com­ing to the Seat­tle school dis­trict.

    # by Daron Sago :: November 27th, 2011 at 5:37 PM