Johnny Corbin

Age: 70

Residence: Redmond

Profession: Retired automotive master technician and auto shop teacher

Liz Goodrich

Age: 53

Residence: Redmond

Profession: Adult programs coordinator for Deschutes Public Library

The only contested race on the Redmond School Board will be fought between one of the board’s more outspoken members, who says he represents Redmond’s seniors and veterans, and a former Mountain View High School teacher who wants to emphasize strong teacher-student relationships and touts her experience on the city’s downtown urban renewal committee.

After a $70 million bond for safety improvements, including replacing the aging M.A. Lynch Elementary, barely failed on Election Day in November, both incumbent Johnny Corbin and challenger Liz Goodrich are prepared to support another bond. But they have different views about the specifics of that bond. Each candidate also has different solutions for raising Redmond High School’s region-low graduation rate.

Incumbent Tim Carpenter is running unopposed for the board’s other expiring seat.

Johnny Corbin

Corbin, 70, is running his first reelection campaign after being voted into office in 2015 — his first victory after multiple failed school board campaigns. The retired high school automotive tech teacher emphasized that he would try to fight the status quo.

“I was brought up that if you don’t like something, instead of bitching about it, do something,” he said.

Corbin said Redmond’s most pressing issue is that some administrators, including Superintendent Mike McIntosh, are unwilling to try new ideas. One example he gave is the district’s handling of the SMART (Start Making a Reader Today) program, in which volunteers help students with reading difficulties. Corbin said he disagrees with a decision by district administrators to hold SMART after school instead of during class.

“Kids in class that can’t read tend to be more disruptive because of their deficiencies,” he said. “If you can address what their needs are, then they won’t be as disruptive in the class.”

Corbin also said McIntosh wasn’t sensitive to the needs of Redmond’s seniors, accusing the district of turning away seniors who wish to volunteer in the schools.

“I don’t understand that concept, of ignoring the seniors, when they have the most to offer,” he said. “It takes the entire community to educate our children, and when you cut out an important group like that, the end result is lacking.”

He also said last year’s $70 million bond measure partly failed because many seniors and veterans, who are on a fixed income, voted against it. The main culprit in his eyes was the “fluff” added onto the bond, such as $2 million for artificial turf fields.

Corbin said when the school board discusses sending another, slightly-tweaked bond to voters to fix Lynch Elementary and make other capital improvements, he’ll approve it — but only if it’s slimmed down.

“Buildings like Lynch, Tumalo, Obsidian and Tuck that need the capital improvements ... I’ll vote in a heartbeat to redo those,” he said. “When you start adding things like artificial turf, I do object to something like that.”

In regards to Redmond High School’s graduation rate — which was the lowest in Central Oregon in 2018, at 75.4 percent — Corbin said he and the school board are emphasizing finding out why students are choosing to drop out. He also said the board is keeping tabs on ninth-graders to make sure they’re on-track to graduate.

Liz Goodrich

Goodrich, 53, is the adult programs coordinator for the Deschutes Public Library. She previously taught high school English in Bend and Belfair, Wash. and worked as a museum educator in Wyoming before moving to Redmond. Her youngest son is a senior at Redmond High School, while her oldest son graduated from the charter school Redmond Proficiency Academy in 2014.

Although she has never held an elected office, Goodrich said her time on Redmond’s Downtown Urban Renewal Advisory Committee — a position Mayor George Endicott appointed her to — would help her be an effective school board member.

“I know how to work within a budget, set goals and work within a team,” she said. “I’m a great communicator.”

Goodrich said creating powerful student-teacher relationships at Redmond High by helping kids find their niche will increase attendance and boost graduation rates at Redmond High.

“Kids feel they belong if they have a safe place to land, whether it’s the band room or the football field or the math club,” she said. “When they feel like they matter somewhere, they’re going to come to school more often.”

As for a potential second try at a bond, Goodrich said communication with voters would be key to having it pass.

“Engagement with the community is something the board really needs to do,” she said. “I was in favor of the bond, 100%, but I’m not sure if there was enough engagement.”

Goodrich said she was confused why so many people were upset about some of the smaller-ticket items on the bond, such as the artificial turf, because she believed it was clear that those were lower-priority fixes compared to replacing Lynch and other safety upgrades.

“I understood that to mean, these other things are going to come first, and if we have money left, we’re going to do those things,” she said.

Other concerns Goodrich has about Redmond schools include large class sizes and population growth. Earlier this month, Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill that awarded the city a 485-home affordable housing project which could open as early as Fall 2021.

“We know the people are coming, so preparing for that growth is important,” she said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7854, jhogan@bendbulletin.com

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