Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Candidates emerge for school board election

3 seats to be decided May 17

Express Staff Writer

Two Blaine County residents have announced their intentions to run for office in the May 17 school board election.

Trustee Kathryn Graves, appointed to the board in 2010, confirmed to the Idaho Mountain Express on Monday that she will seek election. Newcomer Don Nurge has already filed his declaration of candidacy to seek the trustee seat now held by board Chair Julie Dahlgren.

Up for grabs in the election are the trustee positions held by Graves, Dahlgren and Trustee Daniel Parke. Neither Dahlgren nor Parke returned telephone calls to the Express by press deadline Tuesday.

The Blaine County School District has made no public announcement of the election, even though the deadline for filing for candidacy is only nine days away. The school board passed a resolution authorizing the election at a special meeting on March 3.

It is the first time in the history of the Blaine County School District that three board seats will be up for election the same year. The change was necessitated by a consolidated election reform measure approved by the Legislature in 2009.

The new law effectively eliminated annual school board elections and changed trustee terms of office from three to four years. Trustees Paul Bates and Steve Guthrie, elected in 2009, will face re-election in 2013.

The May 17 election will be statewide, with filing guidelines determined by the Idaho secretary of state.

Under the guidelines, the deadline for filing a declaration of candidacy for a school board election is Friday, March 18. If someone misses the deadline, they can file a "declaration of intent" as a write-in candidate on or before April 1.

Candidates are required to live in the school district zone they would represent. Complete descriptions of the zone boundaries are available on the district website.

Dahlgren represents Zone 5, which includes the Sun Valley and east Ketchum areas. She has served on the school board since 2003 and was elected chair in 2009.

Parke represents Zone 1, which encompasses southern Blaine County, including the Carey area. He has been on the board since 2006. He was elected vice chair in 2009.

Graves was appointed to the board in 2010 following the resignation of Mari Beth Matthews. Graves represents Zone 3, which encompasses the northern Hailey area. Graves said Monday that she hadn't yet filed her declaration of candidacy but intends to do so before the March 18 deadline.

Regardless of lack of announcements from the School District about the upcoming election, Nurge said he figured out the process and deadlines on his own and filed his declaration of candidacy last week.

In an interview, Nurge described himself as a "stay-at-home dad," an engineer, a former business owner and a volunteer fireman. He previously served on the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission. He's the father of fourth- and fifth-graders at Hemingway Elementary School in Ketchum.

"I'm running because I've always been involved in the community and now that my kids are getting older I think I can be more involved by being on the board of trustees," Nurge said. "I don't really look at it as running against her [Dahlgren], but I look at it as running to get that seat."

Terry Smith:

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