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Dr. Enrique Leon was chosen to join the school board by the Tacoma School Board of Directors after School Board President Catherine Ushka was elected to the city council. Along with his position on the board, Dr. Leon works at MultiCare Tacoma Family Medicine and is a team physician for Lincoln and Stadium High schools.
Leon notes that last year's teacher strike gave educators a well-deserved raise, but acknowledged rifts in the community between the district leaders and the unions that resulted.
The state Legislature has enacted a cap on levy funding that has contributed to a budget deficit in Tacoma schools. This year the formula was amended, but schools still face consequences such as teacher layoffs. In light of further likely budget cuts in the district, Leon says he is looking at free and open evidence-based curriculum rather than buying a new curriculum. He will also focus on supporting an enhanced elementary reading curriculum, emphasizing kids' emotional and mental health, and creating community-school partnerships.
Leon is running against Kristopher Kerns and John Marsden. Kristopher Kerns is the vice president of Point Defiance Elementary's PTA. He supported last September's teacher strike, saying that teachers deserve fair wages, but noted the burden on parents like himself. Kerns would modify hiring timelines and policies for teachers, aggressively recruit new educators, and states that he will ensure no additional layoffs in the district. A single father of two with one child in the district, John Marsden works for a hardware company. He advocated for a grant to help clean up the park at Whitman Elementary. He does not have detailed campaign information available as of mid-July.
We lean towards Leon in this race.
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