MABTON - Mabton School Board member Rafael Sagrero originally pursued his district 1 seat three years ago because he wanted to see more students in the district graduate high school.
Now he is running for re-election because he wants to see more move onto college or training programs.
His challenger in the Nov. 6 general election, Sandra Alaniz, is running for the post because she wants to see the board welcome more parental involvement.
"I want to know how the school board works and get more involved," she says. "I'd like for the school board to be more open with the parents."
Sagrero has lived in Mabton since 1990, a general all-around handyman who runs a booth at the Pasco flea market.
He feels the district is making strides in connecting with parents, such as offering parenting classes and educating the parents about the schools. "They are the ones who are paying for the schools," he says of parents. "They should know how the school works."
Sagrero is especially pleased with progress made in Mabton's graduation rates, noting that last year the district had the largest graduating class ever.
He's pushing for more progress, "I don't want them to just finish high school, but to go on to college or training schools, but especially college."
Sagrero credits teacher training with helping students grow in the areas of math, English and science. "I don't want to stop. I want to go as far as we can and push a little more," he says.
Alaniz feels the district needs to push more at listening to parent input.
As proof Alaniz points to board meeting policy that she says prohibits board members from commenting on anything that's not on the meeting agenda. "If parents are there with questions they should answer them," she noted.
Alaniz, a caregiver with Aging and Long Term Care, has lived in Mabton since 1983.
If elected, Alaniz said she would like to see all students wear uniforms in kindergarten through 12th grade. She feels uniforms would help prevent potential problems with gang color issues and with what she says are inappropriate clothing items that some of the girls wear. "As parents what can we do," she says. "Those are the clothes the stores are selling."
Even so, Alaniz feels that Mabton schools are overall a good place for learning, especially with the town's small-city feel.
Ballots for the Nov. 6 general election will be mailed to voters on Wednesday, Oct. 17.