Challenger drops out of Battle Ground School Board race

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One of three seats up for election on the Battle Ground Public Schools Board of Directors became less competitive after a challenger to current District 5 seatholder Jackie Maddux dropped out.

Candidate Jenny Price indicated she has suspended her campaign for the seat, instead focusing her efforts on alternative options to public K-12 schooling given the requirements made at the state level to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Price, a Prairie High School graduate, initially ran on a platform of making the requirements for masking optional. She was against critical race theory teaching, and felt comprehensive sexual health education overstepped what should be taught in school, according to information from the Clark County voter’s pamphlet.

Price suspended her campaign following a letter from Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal that was sent to school district superintendents and school board members across the state. The letter stated if districts did not comply with mask mandates in school buildings and vaccinations for school staff, those districts would lose state funding.

“This is a lose-lose for students,” Price said in a statement announcing she was no longer seeking the seat.

Instead, Price said she will focus her efforts on “alternative options for families who see that public school is no longer a good fit for their children.”

“It is time for the community to come together to provide alternative education options for families,” Price said. “Churches, nonprofits, businesses and community members can band together to provide a better education that shows students dignity and care.”

With Price’s exit, incumbent Jackie Maddux is running unopposed.

Maddux moved into the district in 2008 and has four children who have graduated from BGPS. She was appointed to the board seat in June 2020 to replace Tina Lambert who resigned earlier that year.

After being heavily involved with volunteer work at Prairie High School for years, continuing on in some service capacity makes sense, Maddux said. Her youngest, Jayson, graduated in 2019 and served as student representative for the board in his senior year. His experience with the board piqued the elder Maddux’s interest.

The learning loss impacts due to the pandemic is of chief concern for Maddux, as is staying up to date on technology given the possibility for returns to remote learning if outbreaks occur during the pandemic.

Maddux also mentioned the impacts that would occur if voters don’t approve a renewal levy in November, after they rejected the initial ballot measure in February.

“If we have another double levy failure this year, it will really hurt the ability for the district to be able to take care of students and help them to learn,” Maddux said.

Maddux appreciates the district’s attempts at transparency in its decision making processes. As an example, she mentioned the district’s ongoing work to implement a middle school sexual education curriculum, which involved putting together a committee to pick a curriculum. At one point, the committee decided to pause implementation of an initial selection after the district became aware of an alternative that may be a better fit.

“I think it’s a good process and I have been really impressed by how thorough they’ve been, even to pause (implementation),” Maddux said. “I think it’s been a good process even if there’s been some really tough conversations.”

Maddux said although she’ll hear a comment here and there about critical race theory education in the schools, any serious discussion at the board level hasn’t occurred.

“I don’t believe (critical race theory) is a hot topic in our district right now, unless I’m just missing the boat on something,” Maddux said.

Maddux also supports the district’s creation of a citizen advisory committee that will get feedback on decisions at the school district.

“I think anywhere you can get community input and have that voice is so helpful, just to be able to listen and know what people want,” Maddux said.

Maddux, an accounting manager with Clark Public Utilities, said her professional background helps her follow the money when it comes to district decisions.

“I feel like I work with a variety of different personalities and different opinions,” Maddux said.

Maddux said her passion for BGPS makes her a good fit for continuing on the board.

“My heart is with this school district,” Maddux said. “I’ve been volunteering for a lot of years and I love the process. I love being part of a team. I love trying to work together to get things done.”

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