News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

SCSD school board ballot light amid resignations

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

The Santiam Canyon School District is heading into a board election that seems to offer more uncertainty than finality.

Three open positions are on the May 16 ballot, but just one candidate, incumbent Mary Richards, has taken out papers in her Mill City/Gates region Position 4 slot. Richards, a Mill City resident and retired longtime school district employee, was appointed to her position in November 2021.

Chair Angie Fencl remains on the board, as does newcomer Rich Moore, who was appointed to the five-person body to ensure that the board had a three-person quorum, the minimum required to take action. 

“Mr. Moore is a longtime school board member in our district, who came back to help us in our pinch,” superintendent Todd Miller told The Canyon Weekly.  “With three members, we can continue business.” 

Three other board members, Jeremy Tinney, Mary Schenk and Jamey Fawcett have resigned amid new state financial disclosure rules.

Oregon’s new filing requirements for school board members, Miller said, include a  statement of economic interest.

The new mandate for all school board members, Miller said, “requires them to publicly list property owned, who pays them, who they owe, and other transactions for themselves and their spouses.” 

“Through discussions at our meetings, (the three board members) felt the new filing was an overstep of the government and went against their principles as volunteers who were just simply wanting to help their community. 

“We lost some amazing school board members who did a lot over the years to support our schools and advance student achievement and programming in our district,” Miller said.

Fencl and Moore will serve on the board’s Mill City/Gates Positions 1 and 2, while the Mill City/Gates Position 3 and the Detroit/Idanha Position 1 are on the ballot without candidates.

“Next steps are to get through the election and determine our steps of appointing the remaining spots, which should happen around the end of this school year,” Miller said

Miller added “there has been increased interest in candidates who may now seek election through the write-in process and others who have expressed interest in possible board appointments if seats remain open. 

“We have had a strong board for many years, so these changes can feel unsettling, but I am confident in our direction and our future.


April 25: The last day to register to vote

April 26: When local ballots are mailed

May 16: Election Day

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