Left, John Diamond and Cory Glach

Oak Harbor schools on right track, says board candidates

Both candidates for the Oak Harbor School Board say they are satisfied with the board’s current direction, and want to help continue its success.

John Diamond has lived in Oak Harbor for eight and a half years and manages the computer systems for Island County’s 911 dispatch service.

Diamond said he believes his background will be an asset to the board.

“I think my technology background will help guide the district in making some of those technology decisions, all the way from the curriculum to the infrastructure and how they build that out and make it available to students,” said Diamond.

Cory Glach most recently has been here for two years, but he was stationed here for five years starting in 1999. He said his management experience from the Navy and his involvement in the PTA will benefit the board.

Both candidates have children in Oak Harbor schools; Diamond’s daughter is a junior in high school and Glach’s twins are in second grade.

Diamond’s priority revolves around improving student access to computers for academic purposes. He would like to propose keeping a school library or computer lab open longer after or before school to give students who lack access to a computer or the internet a chance to complete their homework. He said he has also considered the possibility of the district contracting with a private business for the same purpose.

Glach would like the board to be more involved in lobbying in Washington, D.C., for funding. He also wants to make sure the board continues to progress.

“I think the biggest goal is to make sure that we don’t get complacent with our success,” he said.

Neither candidate is convinced the recently-passed public education spending legislation passed is in the best interest of Oak Harbor schools.

The state also passed a “levy swap,” which raises state taxes while capping local school levies. These bills were passed in response to the 2012 Washington State Supreme Court McCleary decision, which ruled that the Legislature had failed in its obligation to fully fund education in the state.

Diamond said this fix was “rushed” without enough local input. Glach called the levy cap “unfair” to our area.

“I think it’s very tough on our community and our voters who had passed that levy knowing what it will do to their property taxes and knowing what it meant to the school district,” said Glach.

Both candidates are in favor of working to keep class sizes small. The two said they are supportive of the district’s reconfiguration, and felt Oak Harbor Intermediate School has been successful.

Diamond’s value of volunteerism inspired him to run for the position. He has volunteered with North Whidbey Fire and Rescue and the Kiwanis club during his time here. He wants to instill the importance of giving back to students as well.

“I think it’s critical that we raise good citizens, and I think the earlier we start that process through early education, we can make our students successful.”

Glach said he was frustrated in the past with school districts in other areas, but his experience with Oak Harbor Schools made him “very passionate.”

“It made me feel like I wanted to be a part of it.”