Board members try to replace president (RSD Fran Rish Stadium)
Board members try to replace president (RSD Fran Rish Stadium)

 (This piece contains some editorial content, especially concerning the friction that has been exposed within the Richland School Board).

A proposal or motion by a newly-elected Richland School Board member to replace current Board President Jill Oldson was defeated by a 3-2 vote Wednesday evening.

Audra Bird made the motion, but did not pass

In the short time since the November election, it has become apparent there is divisiveness on the Richland School Board.

Newly-elected members Semi Byrd, Audra Bird, and newer member Kari Williams have 'aligned' themselves often as opposed to the proposals and views of board veterans Jill Oldson and Rick Jansons.

Williams, during the meeting, said she was honored by the idea, but didn't believe she should be Board President. She said she believed the board should be focused on getting through current issues.

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Audra Bird said Oldson abused her power as Board President by making last night's (Wednesday night) meeting by Zoom or virtual only. Bird said Oldson failed to consult other board members, and Bird said Oldson "abuses" her power in that position.

   Board President vote the tip of the iceberg of issues

The real elephant in the room appears to be that the established members of the board, Oldson, and Jansons, are being challenged by the newer members.  There have been numerous insinuations that Oldson and Jansons along with Superintendent Shelly Redinger are perhaps 'too close'  to the OSPI (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction) and even the Governor's office.

Oldson criticized Byrd and Bird and Williams for what she called an 'illegal' vote to have the District go mask optional. During last night's meeting, she was quoted as saying: "Thank God for Shelley Redinger because she single-handedly saved this district."

Part of the reason Bird and Byrd were elected to the board was frustration from parents and citizens over what they felt was a lack of representation and effort on the part of the Board 'establishment' when it comes to fighting to get children back in the classroom, and modifying or resisting the mask mandate.  Increasing numbers of schools have been resisting the mandate, facing what some say is an unlawful threat from OSPI to pull their funding.

One thing for sure, the new members appear to be shaking up the 'status-quo' that's existed on the board for some time, pushing for more parental and student involvement and what's best for the kids--and not administrators.


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