Jeni Rice

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Jeni Rice
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Yakima Board of Directors, Position 1
Term ends
November 2017
Years in position 1
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Master'sCalifornia State University-Bakersfield
ProfessionTesting coordinator
Jeni Rice currently represents Position 1 on the Yakima Board of Directors in Washington. She defeated incumbent Graciela Villanueva on November 5, 2013. Rice previously sought appointment to the board in November 2011 to fill a vacancy in Position 1 but incumbent Villanueva was selected by the board.[1]

Rice dropped out of the 2013 race for the Position 1 seat against Villanueva in September to pursue a professional opportunity.[2] Rice's name remained on the ballot and voters overwhelmingly selected her for the Position 1 seat. She has indicated that she will accept the position despite her withdrawal. Villanueva argued that Rice won the election because voters confused the challenger with current board member Martha Rice. The incumbent also alleged that voters rejected her re-election bid because of local discrimination against Hispanics.[3]


Rice earned a M.B.A. with a specialization in Marketing from California State University-Bakersfield in 2008. She has worked as a marketing coordinator, sales manager and academic adviser. Rice has been the Testing and Running Start Coordinator for Yakima Valley Community College since June 2013.[4]



See also: Yakima School District elections (2013)


Rice sought election to the board against incumbent Graciela Villanueva in the November 5, 2013 general election.


Yakima Board of Directors, Four-year term, Position 1, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJeni Rice 61.2% 5,278
     Nonpartisan Graciela Villanueva Incumbent 38% 3,280
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.8% 65
Total Votes 8,623
Source: Yakima County Auditor, "Cumulative Report," November 26, 2013


Rice reported no contributions or expenditures to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission.[5]

What was at stake?

Incumbents Walt Ranta and Raymond Navarro, Jr. ran for re-election to the board without opposition.

Budget shortfall

The district will be challenged by growing enrollment, slow revenue growth and increased demands on the annual budget. District schools have seen a 5.3% increase in total enrollment between 2008 and 2012. The 2013-2014 budget approved by the Board of Directors on August 20, 2013 requires an infusion of reserve funds to fill a $11.3 million shortfall. Budget discussions revealed that the district saw a 8% increase in revenue over the previous budget year but a 12% increase in expenses.[6]

About the district

See also: Yakima School District, Washington
Yakima School District is located in Yakima County, Washington
Yakima School District in Yakima County is located in south-central Washington about 60 miles south of Mount Rainier. The population of Yakima was 243,231 according to the 2010 U.S. Census.[7]


Yakima lags behind state averages for higher education achievement, median income and poverty rate. The percentage of city residents over 25 years old with undergraduate degrees (16.0%) is below the state average (31.4%). The 2010 U.S. Census calculated Yakima's median income at $44,419 while the state median income was $58,890. Yakima had a poverty rate of 21.4% in the 2010 U.S. Census while the state rate was 12.5%.[7]

Racial Demographics, 2012[7]
Race Yakima (%) Washington (%)
White 88.4 77.3
Black or African American 1.4 3.6
American Indian and Alaska Native 5.7 1.5
Asian 1.4 7.2
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.2 0.6
Two or More Races 2.8 4.7
Hispanic or Latino 46.3 11.2

Presidential Voting Pattern[8]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 42.9 54.5
2008 43.6 54.1
2004 39.1 59.5
2000 36.2 56.0

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.[9]

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