Incumbent Stanwood-Camano School Board member Al Schreiber is facing Gary Forslund for the District 1 seat in the Nov. 2 election.
Al Schreiber said he feels his experience is what’s needed most on the School Board right now.
“We have a new superintendent, and she wants to work with the board that hired her,” Schreiber said. “There’s quite a learning curve to learning how to help manage the district. The biggest thing we do is manage the taxpayers' dollars and making sure they’re well invested.”
Schreiber said he’s proud of district accomplishments during his tenure, such as overseeing the construction of new school buildings and upgrades to existing schools.
“But one of our biggest accomplishments is that we’ve been able to do all these things without a raise in the local tax rate,” he said.
He said his experience from a career in public safety is also useful as a board member.
“I know what we need to keep our kids safe and provide a safe learning environment for all kids,” Schreiber said.
Gary Forslund, 67, said he wants to improve communication between the district and families.
“I struggle with the School Board’s means of communication with the community,” Forslund said. “I don’t feel like the community trusts them.”
For example, he said he doesn’t like that the board doesn’t reply to public comments during meetings.
“It’s like talking to a brick wall,” he said. “It would seem to me they should add more opportunity to speak directly with the community.”
Forslund said he would like to see more regular meetings with the community to have a dialogue.
“People want to know how the board members feel about issues of interest to them,” he said, suggesting topics such as sex education curriculum, critical race theory and mask mandates.
Candidate responses to Stanwood Camano News questionnaire:
Occupation: Retired law enforcement (36 years)
Education background: Masters in Business Administration (MBA), Willamette University, Salem, Oregon
Elected offices held: Stanwood Camano School District, Director (8 years)
Elected offices sought: Stanwood Camano School District, Director District 1
Community involvement: Involved locally in church, schools, camp, Scouts, North County Regional Fire Authority's CERT, amateur radio, Lights of Christmas, etc.
Why did you run for office? To help our children graduate from school ready for further education, careers, and a successful future and that they would reflect our community values including work ethic, persistence, integrity, fiscal responsibility, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and a desire to give back to their community.
What is a major issue facing the Stanwood-Camano School Board and how would you address that issue? Recovering from Covid-19 and maintaining our local control over our schools while those in Olympia (Governor, Attorney General, Superintendent of Public Instruction and legislature) seek to mandate unpopular/controversial requirements, programs and curriculum. I will continue to fight for what is best for our kids and use my experience on the board and in the community to ensure our children receive an education and not an indoctrination.
Why should voters choose you? I'm asking voters to keep the vision going and re-elect me because experience is important and I have more board experience than most of our directors. With the retirement this summer of the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent, the new superintendent (Dr. Deborah Rumbaugh) will need the support of an experienced board, the one that hired her. Experience in providing a safe learning environment is critical today and I am the only director or candidate with an extensive background in Public Safety. I also have experience advocating/supporting marginalized groups and those most vulnerable including special education. We now provide full-time kindergarten in all elementary schools, a principal in every school (no more shared administrators) and most recently our current board completed the new Stanwood High School, new Church Creek Campus (Lincoln Hill High School, Lincoln Academy, Saratoga School homeschool parent-partnership), Maintenance/Technology building, and the stadium renovations without any increase in local property tax rates as promised.
Occupation: I am the Lead Pastor at New View Church in Stanwood.
Education background: I have a BA degree in Christian Education.
Elected offices held: None listed
Elected offices sought: I am running for position 1 on the Stanwood-Camano School Board. I spent 6 years working at Cedarhome Elementary School as a custodian. I spent a year and a half as president of the PSE (Public School Employees) union for the Stanwood-Camano School District. I worked for the US Postal Service in Stanwood for 16 years. I have lived in Stanwood for 38 years. My wife and I raised our 5 children here.
Why did you run for office? I am committed to the students of the Stanwood-Camano area. I believe our schools should concentrate on providing students with a quality education that transcends the trending ideologies of our time. I want all students to achieve their greatest learning potential regardless of their social status or intellectual capabilities. I believe families should have the pivotal role of guiding their students through the societal and political challenges of our nation. I believe students benefit most when families and educators partner together in the learning process. We have a good school district. It can be great.
Why should voters choose you? Our school district can meet the challenges of the future. Together with our new Superintendent, Dr. Deborah Rumbaugh, we can guide our students through an education process that will promote independent thinking, creative problem solving, and productive living. Our students deserve the best opportunity to succeed in life. A quality education will give them a good start to achieve their highest potential. I want to be a part of that process.