Ballots mailed out for school election
Last updated 7/28/2023 at 2:33pm
The upcoming May election will decide who is filling two open positions on the Sisters School Board.
Five candidates are running for the two open positions on the Board. Jeff Smith is running for Position 3 and has been on the School Board since 1999, with a break of 2-1/2 years. Smith believes his experience and passion for education set him apart from the other candidates.
"I have a passion for education. I believe in good schools and am lucky enough to end up in a community with great schools, so to help sustain and guide that, I believe in public service," he said.
Asa Sarver is running for a position, after serving for a year as an interim appointee to the Board when Don Hedrick retired. Sarver is running for Position 4.
"When Don announced he was leaving, I, of course, saw a great opportunity to be as involved as I possibly could," Sarver said. "Part of the draw to me is there are some amazing special programs here, low student-to-teacher ratios, and it is something I am fighting to maintain."
Sarver currently serves as the chair of the local option committee. The local option committee is a political action committee (PAC) that raises funds to promote Measure 9-161, the renewal of Sisters' local option levy, also on the ballot in the May 16 election (see related story, page 26).
Hilary Saunders is also running for Position 4. Saunders graduated from Sisters High School in 2000 and is passionate about maintaining the caliber of education she received. When describing why she is running for the Board, Saunders said: "It all stems from my experience in the SSD (Sisters School District) it's almost like a relationship; the experience is like a good relationship or family member." Saunders is still very close with several of the people she graduated with, highlighting the connections made in a small graduating class and how lasting friendships are made when attending school in the SSD.
"Providing all the experiences for all the kids is super important. There are so many things that we had, and I want to make sure the uniqueness is still there so that kids have an amazing opportunity to learn and change the world," she said. "There is a passion instilled in the Sisters schools, passion in yourself and others, and I want to make sure that my kids and all other kids can experience that," said Saunders.
Karissa Bilderback is also a former Outlaw, graduating with Saunders in 2000. Bilderback is running for Position Three. Bilderback had always had it in her mind to run for the School Board when the opportunity presented itself. She felt that now was a good time; with her youngest heading to preschool, she has more time, allowing her to serve on the Board.
"I felt like now is a great time to give back to the system that I am so grateful for. I have a lot of pride, and I feel like our school district excels in so many ways, and I want it to continue," she said.
Jayne Simmons is also running for Position 4, against Sarver and Saunders. Simmons is running for the School Board to be a hands-on member to help improve and encourage the unique programming that Sisters schools offer.
"I also want to encourage parents to go into the schools; that for me is vital, and the parents get a say in what their education is all about. That is one thing I will be working towards," said Simmons.
She also plans to advocate for going back to the basic curriculum with reading, writing, and arithmetic and the basics students need for a real sound education.
"We need to help the teachers do their jobs by returning to the basic curriculum," she said.
All candidates will be on the ballot for the May 16 district election. Ballots will be going out at this week.
Sisters School District 6
Position No. 3 - Four-year term
• Karissa Bilderback
• Jeff Smith
Position No. 4 - Four-year term
• Asa Sarver
• Hilary (Hedemark) Saunders
• Jayne Simmons
Key election dates:
• April 26: Ballots mailed to voters.
• April 28: All Deschutes County drop boxes open (drop box located in front of City Hall, 511 E. Cascade Ave.)
• May 11: Last day for election officials to mail replacement ballots to voters.
• May 16: Election Day
Remember to sign your ballot return envelope.