Election could shake up Wenatchee School Board for second time in two years


The politics of the Wenatchee School Board could shift dramatically after November’s election.

The three-candidate block that swept into office and took control of the five-member board in November 2017 now faces a challenge of its own.

Board chair Sunny Hemphill, one of those three, faces retired business executive Martin Barron for her seat.

Hemphill is up for election again because she ran for a seat with two years remaining on its term.

Sarah Knox and Michele Sandberg, the other two winners in 2017, were elected for four years. All three defeated board incumbents.

Hemphill’s challenger already has a fund-raising advantage she will not overcome.

Barron way ahead in campaign cash

In his latest report to the state Public Disclosure Commission, Barron had raised $7,261, the most money of all the candidates.

Hemphill chose the “mini-reporting” option with the PDC, meaning she does not have to file campaign finance reports but can’t raise or spend more than $5,000.

She acknowledged Wednesday it was a calculated risk when she chose to limit her spending but said she already has campaign signs and election materials left over from her 2017 race.

That year, she raised $4,200 for her successful election.

Laura Jaecks, who has often clashed with the three-member majority, has reported raising $6,150 thus far.

She faces Meliesa Tigard, who also selected the mini-reporting option.

Karina Vega-Villa, who was appointed to the board in January, does not face an opponent after Tim Larson withdrew after moving out of the district.

Shortly after Hemphill, Knox and Sandberg were elected they changed board rules in order to appoint themselves to leadership positions.

That rankled the other two board members.

Dr. Walter Newman later resigned from the board, leading to Vega-Villa’s appointment.

Knox was the top money-raiser in the 2017 election, with $6,200. The three incumbents who were defeated all selected the mini-reporting option.