Tacoma Public Schools elections (2013)

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2013 Tacoma Public Schools Elections

General Election date:
November 5, 2013
Table of Contents
About the district
Method of election
What was at stake?
Key deadlines
Additional elections
External links
See also
Tacoma Public Schools
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One seat on the Tacoma Public Schools Board of Directors was up for election on the November 5, 2013 ballot. Campaign issues included maintaining the district's standing as a state-designated Innovation Zone, the impacts of recent budget cuts and the district's efforts toward charter school authorization. Debbie Winskill defeated Dexter Gordon for the Position 1 seat.

About the district

See also: Tacoma Public Schools, Washington
Tacoma Public Schools is located in Pierce County, Washington
The City of Tacoma is the county seat of Pierce County, which is located along the Puget Sound in western Washington. The population of Tacoma was 198,397 according to the 2010 U.S. Census.[1]


Tacoma lags behind state averages for median income, higher education achievement and poverty rate. The percentage of city residents over 25 years old with undergraduate degrees (24.3%) is below the state average (31.4%). The 2010 U.S. Census calculated Tacoma's median income at $49,232 while the state median income was $58,890. Tacoma had a poverty rate of 17.1% in the 2010 U.S. Census while the state rate was 12.5%.[1]

Racial Demographics, 2012[1]
Race Tacoma (%) Washington (%)
White 64.9 77.3
Black or African American 11.2 3.6
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.8 1.5
Asian 8.2 7.2
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 1.2 0.6
Two or More Races 8.1 4.7
Hispanic or Latino 11.3 11.2

Presidential Voting Pattern[2]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 54.4 43.3
2008 54.9 42.8
2004 50.4 48.0
2000 51.4 44.0

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[3][4]

Method of board member selection

The Tacoma Public Schools Board of Directors consists of five members elected at-large to six-year terms. There was not a primary election on August 6, 2013 as the single seat that was up for election did not have more than two candidates. Two seats are up for election on November 3, 2015 and two seats will be on the ballot in November 2017.

Elections in Washington require candidates to pay filing fees equal to 1% of a position's annual salary. Board members in Tacoma can be reimbursed up to $4,800 for district activities but do not receive salaries, which eliminates the filing fee. Candidates were required to file nominating petitions by May 17, 2013 to qualify for the November ballot. Each candidate could also submit a photo and statement of 100 words or less by August 14, 2013 for the county's local voter pamphlet.[5]




Position 1

Election results

Tacoma Public Schools, Position 1, Six-year term, November 5, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngDebbie Winskill Incumbent 55.4% 21,661
     Nonpartisan Dexter Gordon 44.6% 17,414
Total Votes 39,075
Source: Pierce County Elections, "November 5, 2013 General Election, November 26, 2013</ref>


The Bellingham Herald endorsed Debbie Winskill for the November 5, 2013 board election.[6] Dexter Gordon received the endorsement of the Pierce County Democrats on October 15, 2013.[7]

Campaign finance

Candidates received a total of $43,809.53 and spent a total of $41,240.49 during the election, according to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission.[8]

In the Position 1 race, candidates received a total of $43,809.53 and spent a total of $41,240.49.

Candidate Contributions Expenditures Cash on hand
Dexter Gordon $43,809.53 $41,240.49 $2,569.04
Debbie Winskill $0.00 $0.00 $0.00

Past elections


Tacoma Public Schools, Position 3, Six-year term, November 8, 2011
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngScott Heinze 51% 20,809
     Nonpartisan Dexter Gordon 49% 20,012
Total Votes 40,821
Source: Pierce County Elections, "November 8, 2011 General Election," November 29, 2011

Tacoma Public Schools, Position 5, Six-year term, November 8, 2011
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngKaren Vialle 63.4% 26,108
     Nonpartisan Kim Washington 36.6% 15,041
Total Votes 41,149
Source: Pierce County Elections, "November 8, 2011 General Election," November 29, 2011

What was at stake?

Debbie Winskill ran for her fifth term on the board against challenger Dexter Gordon for an at-large seat.


The Board of Directors will try to balance budget cuts in the most recent budget with the district's role as an innovator. The 2012-2013 district budget featured cuts totaling $4.5 million from the 2011-2012 budget with most cuts coming from regular instruction.[9] Board members will try to maintain the district's role as an Innovation Zone, a title bestowed upon the district by Superintendent Randy Dorn in 2012. The district features 12 schools that are considered innovative out of 33 schools throughout the state.[10]

A 3-0 vote by the Board of Directors in September 2013 approved the district's letter of intent to become a charter school authorizer. The district hopes to follow Spokane in taking advantage of a 2012 statewide initiative that allows a limited number of charter schools to be created by 2017. Members Karen Vialle, Catherine Ushka and Kurt Miller supported a letter of intent to the Washington Board of Education while Debbie Winskill abstained and Scott Heinze was not available for the vote. The Board of Directors voted unanimously prior to Initiative 1240 to oppose charter schools in Tacoma because members believed that charters would contribute to decreased funding for existing schools.[11]

Key deadlines

The following dates were key deadlines for the Tacoma Public Schools election in 2013:[5]

Deadline Event
April 29, 2013 First day to file nominating petitions by mail
May 13, 2013 First day to file nominating petitions online or in-person
May 17, 2013 Last day to file nominating petitions
August 6, 2013 Primary day
August 14, 2013 Last day to submit candidate materials for voter pamphlet
November 5, 2013 Election day
November 26, 2013 Certification of vote results

Additional elections on the ballot

The Tacoma Public Schools election shared the ballot with other city offices. The ballot included the mayoral race, four positions on the Tacoma City Council and two positions on the Civil Service Board. Three seats on the Port of Tacoma Commission will be up for election on November 5, 2013. Voters will also cast ballots for two statewide initiatives and five advisory votes that deal with changes to state tax policy.[5]

See also

External links

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