MABTON - Both Elsa Sanchez and Gabriel Mireles Jr. feel that communication in the Mabton School District is lacking. And that is one of the reasons why both of them decided to throw their hat into the ring for an open seat on the Mabton School Board.
Both Sanchez and Mireles are vying for the director district No. 3 seat, which was left vacant by Viviana Trejo.
Mireles is a native of Mabton, having graduated from Mabton High School. He works as a forklift operator at a cold storage warehouse in Grandview.
Mireles has five children in the Mabton School District, ranging from first grade to high school.
"That is mainly why I decided to run," said Mireles.
He said communication is lacking in Mabton. One of his goals if elected to the school board is to include more of the community in the school board meetings. Mireles said at the board meetings he would like to first have a discussion with those in attendance in the audience and then bring those issues back during the meeting.
Mireles said one of his concerns is that issues are passed and money is spent by the board and the community doesn't really have a clue what is transpiring.
Mireles said many of the school board members were serving the district when he was in school and feels it is time for a change.
"I want to see if I can do it a little better," said Mireles.
From an academic standpoint, Mireles said he wants to work on getting new programs into the district that will help enhance students in the classroom. Mireles also wants to work on having more scholarships available for graduates.
Mireles said he plans on living in Mabton for many years to come so he wants to be a part of the education his children and other students will be receiving.
"I want to do whatever is going to benefit the students," said Mireles.
Sanchez works as an insurance specialist for the Washington State Migrant Council. She is a life-long resident of Mabton with two daughters in the school district.
"I just want to be involved more," said Sanchez of her reason for running for office. "It is just a goal of mine I have had for a few years."
Sanchez, too, feels communication is lacking in the school district.
Sanchez said Mabton has held a couple of town hall meetings and at the end of the day the issue is a lack of communication between the district and the community.
Sanchez has been involved with a group of parents who took it upon themselves to become more involved in the schools and improve communication with teachers. She would like to see more of those smaller parent groups start to form in the district.
Sanchez said she would like to see the district more involved with students' education. She said there needs to be more intervention in the academic progress of students. Sanchez said the district needs to keep close tabs on students who are performing poorly academically and students who need to be challenged in school. She feels there are numerous programs that can assist both those students doing well and those performing poorly in school.
"We need to have close monitoring of that," said Sanchez.
If elected to the board, Sanchez said she would like input into what needs to be done. But she feels the input needs to be specific.
Sanchez feels she would make a good school board member because she is involved in the district right now.
"I do listen to people and care about our students," said Sanchez. "Not just my children, but everyone."