Two seats on the Sisters School District’s governing board will be filled at the May 21 election, and in Zone 4 voters should choose Don Hedrick over Mandee Seeley.

The other seat to be filled is the Zone 3 slot currently held by Jeff Smith. He’s being challenged by Stephen King, who was the Zone 4 board member but who didn’t want to see Smith run unopposed. The Bulletin is not ready to make an endorsement in the Zone 3 race at this time.

Hedrick, 84, brings experience to the board that should not be overlooked. He’s both a former teacher and former administrator and has had experience in relatively small districts like Sisters. He served on the board for eight years, then opted not to run two years ago. He found he missed the job more than he’d expected and decided to run again this year.

Seeley, 35, is relatively new to Sisters, having come to Central Oregon from Florida. She has two children in school in the district. She would focus, she says, on mental health issues and the pressure children face in school each day. She also wants the district to pay more attention to students who do not plan to go to college and to parents who may be illiterate. Too, she believes the school food service should serve less sugar and add vegan options to the meals it provides.

Hedrick sees challenges ahead for the district. Growth, perhaps substantial growth, is likely and state curriculum requirements can seem to be in a perpetual state of change. A good board, and its members, but be able to adapt to that change while maintaining the things that make the district special.

Small classes are important to the community, Hedrick notes, and the school board must find a way to balance its budget while maintaining class size. He also notes one advantage the district has is its relationships with the community at large that make offering classes in such things as flight science possible.

While Seeley argues her new perspective qualifies her for the job, it’s Hedrick’s experience that should attract voters. School districts in Oregon face financial and educational challenges that will be solved best by those with experience. Vote for Hedrick.

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