Press release from The Stranger:

School Board Election Debate at Town Hall

Four Serious Challengers on Fall Ballot Could Tip Balance of District Power

Audience Will Vote via Text Message for Debate Winners

WHERE: Town Hall Seattle, upstairs

WHEN: Wednesday, September 28, 7:30 to 9:00 p.m.

WHO: All school board incumbents and challengers in the general election, moderated by KIRO’s Dave Ross

RESERVE YOUR SEAT: Tickets are free; go online to guarantee your seat (

After a three-year run of controversies, ranging from school closures to a $1.8 million-dollar alleged fraud scandal that ended in the superintendent’s termination, a majority of the Seattle School Board is up for reelection this fall. A sweep by challengers in the general election would tip the district’s balance of power—but do they have the skill to run the school district?

Voters will get a firsthand comparison of the candidates when all four incumbents and all four challengers debate at Town Hall on September 28. The event includes lightning rounds for all eight contenders followed by four sets of one-on-one mini-debates, including:

Peter Maier (incumbent) vs. Sharon Peaslee

Sherry Carr (incumbent) vs. Kate Martin

Harium Martin-Morris (incumbent) vs. Michelle Buetow

Steve Sundquist (incumbent)  vs. Marty McLaren

KIRO’s Dave Ross will moderate, with help from panelists Lauren McGuire (president of the Seattle Council PTSA) and Melissa Westbrook (writer for the popular Save Seattle Schools blog).

Debate questions will include the district’s new busing program, school closures, school reassignments, graduation requirements, curricula, budget shortfalls, and votes by incumbent school board members and what the challengers plan to do differently. Audience members will vote via text message for the winners following each debate.

Three incumbents are considered particularly vulnerable heading into the general election (each of them drew at least three challengers), with most incumbents garnering only about 40 percent of the primary vote. Only Maier got a majority of the primary vote, with 52 percent.