REDMOND, Ore. - The school budget, graduation rates and attendance topped the topics discussed by Redmond school board candidates. Four candidates spoke at a public forum Monday evening that also included park board candidates.
Only one school board position is being contested, with Shawn Hartfield holding the seat since 2015 and hoping to bring in more programs.
"Music in the schools -- we don't have it in all of our elementary schools," said Hartfield. "It would be nice to bring that in, because it is something that engages not only the student to come to school, but also you have concerts where the community comes in to participate."
BJ Soper seeks to unseat Hartfield and said he hopes to get the community more engaged in schools.
"The only way we are going to make changes is if we do it right here locally in our own communities, and we live in a small community, so we have the ability to do that," said Soper. "We have the ability to influx into our children good moral standards and a good education, to really prepare them for a future life."
Two of the four people running for the Redmond Parks and Recreation Board were on hand. Hayes McCoy said the Cascade Swim Center will need some big changes soon.
"I want to see that facility developed the right way and developed for what is appropriate for Redmond," said McCoy, adding that it should be "something that functions well and is something the community can be proud of."
Whether they were running for the school or parks board, said all they really want is to serve the community they love.
Lisa Soper (B.J. Soper's wife) is running against Matt Gilman for a park board said, and said she wants her daughter and all kids to just be outside more.
"Everybody wants to be on their phones or play video games, and I think people need to be outside doing things," said Soper.
Rick Bailey is running unopposed for school board Position 2 and said he wants kids to feel engaged and love what they're learning.
"Whatever it is that lights up that student is what we are trying to connect them with," said Bailey. "And if we see that the student is not in class enough, we are going to be after the teachers to make some sort of connection with that student."
Position 3 candidate Travis Bennett said it's an ongoing challenge to work within a budget that doesn't always allow room for some activities.
"The superintendent and school district puts together this great team of employees and ways to reach out to all the kids and the community, and then somebody that doesn't have a direct impact on the school says, 'Oh, you have to do that with $3 million less,'" said Bennett.
All the candidates hope to grow the Redmond community in a positive way.
Ballots are about to hit the mailboxes, and are due to be returned by 8 p.m. on May 16.