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Olu Thomas

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Olu Thomas
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Former candidate for
Seattle Public Schools, District 5
Elections and appointments
Last electionAugust 6, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sUniversity of Lagos
Campaign website
Olu Thomas was a candidate in District 5 of the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors in Washington. She was defeated in the August 6, 2013 primary by fellow challengers Stephan Blanford and LaCrese Green. Thomas was campaigning to increase transparency in board actions and improve special education programs in Seattle.


Thomas received her B.A. in English Philosophy from the University of Lagos in Nigeria. She worked as a social worker for 15 years with Salvation Army Social Services. Thomas currently serves as the chair for the Cherry Street Development Corporation.[1][2]



See also: Seattle Public Schools elections (2013)

General election

Stephan Blanford defeated LaCrese Green in the November 5, 2013 general election.

Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors, General election, District 5, Four-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngStephan Blanford 88.8% 144,320
     Nonpartisan LaCrese Green 10.6% 17,286
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.5% 852
Total Votes 162,458
Source: King County Elections, "Certified Results," November 25, 2013


Thomas finished third in the August 6, 2013 primary behind Stephan Blanford and LaCrese Green and failed to advance to the November 5, 2013 general election.[3]

Seattle Board of Directors, Primary, District 5, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngStephan Blanford 79.3% 8,574
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngLaCrese Green 13.1% 1,415
     Nonpartisan Olu Thomas 7.6% 827
Total Votes 10,816
Source: King County Elections, "August 6, 2013 primary election results," August 20, 2013


Thomas reported no contributions or expenditures to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission.[4]

Campaign themes


See also: Seattle Public Schools elections (2013)

Thomas's campaign website explained her campaign themes for 2013:[1]

"My goal is to attempt to empower the community, have parents and teachers as allies working towards the same goal. I want equitable treatment of all children regardless of their background. They should be exposed and have access to quality education and rigorous curriculum. Children need to be challenged in order to learn. There should also be a stronger focus on Special Education than we currently have. More transparency is needed between the Board and the public. Provide educators with necessary tools to perform their duties and make accountability paramount. Completely eradicate over-enrolment."

Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.

What's at stake?

Incumbent Betty Patu is seeking re-election without opposition in District 7. Districts 4 and 5 will have new members as incumbents Michael DeBell and Kay Smith-Blum did not file for re-election. Both districts held primaries on August 6, 2013 with the top two candidates in each district moving to the general election on November 5, 2013.


The Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors confront strained resources and legal cases stemming from past abuses of students. The district experienced a 9.5% increase in enrollment between 2008 and 2012.[5] This enrollment increase coincides with declining money from the federal stimulus program as well as cuts to support services in recent budgets.[6] These issues played into disagreements between the district and the Seattle Education Association (SEA) over a new contract for teachers. On September 3, teachers voted to approve a two-year contract that increased pay by 2% and included test scores in teacher evaluations.[7]

Another area of concern for the district is a series of lawsuits brought by six former and current students seeking damages totaling $29 million. These damages are related to instances of sexual abuse by former teacher Phil McGee as well as an incident where a student was convicted of sexual assault against another student.[8]

About the district

See also: Seattle Public Schools, Washington
Seattle Public Schools is located in King County, Washington
Seattle Public Schools is located in the City of Seattle in King County, Washington. The population of Seattle was 608,660 according to the 2010 U.S. Census.[9]


Seattle outperforms state averages for higher education achievement and median income while lagging behind in poverty levels. The percentage of city residents over 25 years old with undergraduate degrees (55.8%) exceeds the state average (31.4%). The 2010 U.S. Census calculated Seattle's median income at $61,856 while the state median income was $58,890. Seattle had a poverty rate of 13.2% in the 2010 U.S. Census while the state rate was 12.5%.[9]

Racial Demographics, 2012[9]
Race Battle Ground (%) Washington (%)
White 69.5 77.3
Black or African American 7.9 3.6
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.8 1.5
Asian 13.8 7.2
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.4 0.6
Two or More Races 5.1 4.7
Hispanic or Latino 6.6 11.2

Presidential Voting Pattern[10]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 68.7 28.3
2008 70.0 28.0
2004 65.0 33.7
2000 60.0 34.4

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[11] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.

Recent news

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