There are two seats on the Yakima School board on next week's ballot. Both have incumbents seeking reelection and both have more conservative challengers looking to introduce some change.

While Yakima hasn't experienced any of the turmoil. protests, arrests, or near-riots that have played out at some school board meetings elsewhere around the country, the issues are real and worthy of discussion.

What most parents want is transparency and truth about topics like Critical Race Theory, sex education, student medical issues, attendance policy, and graduation rates.  All are areas for discussion between concerned parents and their school boards.

School board races are district-wide so all voters will have a chance to have their say on who is seen as best to work on behalf of our students.

Graciella Villanueva is a ten-year incumbent of the Yakima School board.  She is a Human Resource Officer for the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic.  She says the district faces a number of challenges moving forward, including dealing with the factors that contribute to a lack of attendance which in turn affects graduation rates.

She says getting young people involved with civic engagement is an important area of education for students that needs to receive more attention, as does broadening the highly capable enrichment programs.

Villanueva says she has never felt threatened by angry parents and she says CRT is misunderstood and is not being taught in the Yakima School District.  Here is our interview with the Position One School Board Director Graciela Villanueva.

Ms. Villanueva's opponent is Kenton Gartrell who operates a furniture building and refurbishing business.  He has kids in the Yakima district which played a role in his interest in running for the board.

Gartrell says the idea of a nonpartisan board isn't honest.  He believes that people have political opinions and philosophies and they govern the decisions that all of us make, so he thinks people should be upfront about it. Gartrell says he's a Libertarian running as a Republican for the position on the current board which is dominated by Democrats.

When it comes to Critical Race Theory Gartrell says he is a definite "No".  He believes progressive Democrats have taken control of education and he would like to see politics out of education but before that can happen he says some conservatives would have to be elected to the board to establish balance.

Gartrell admits a google search of his name will turn up some past controversies including his support for Councilman Jason White's boycott of more than a year of council meetings.  Since attendance is so important to school success, it's fair to ask a question about how his rationale for supporting a "no-show"  would transfer to a job that pushes kids to show up.  That answer is part of our interview with Position One, School Board candidate, Kenton Gartrell.

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