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3 Candidates Seek 2 Seats in Washington Township School Board Race

This article was co-published by Chalkbeat Indiana and WFYI as part of a collaboration for the 2022 school board elections. Join Chalkbeat Indiana and WFYI to hear from IPS School Board candidates at a 6 p.m. forum on Wednesday, October 5 at the Indianapolis Public Library, Central Branch . RSVP and submit questions here.

Two out of five school board seats are up for election in November in the Washington Township Metropolitan School District. Indianapolis’ North Side District had more than 10,800 students in the 2020–21 academic year. Forty-one percent of students were black, 20 percent were Hispanic, and nearly 54 percent identified as low-income.

The district is constantly concerned about its achievement gap. Only 9% of black students in grades 3-8 passed the math and English portion of the state exam, compared to nearly 54% of their white classmates.

Washington Township parents were also frustrated with the district’s transportation department this fall. Lack of drivers caused various delays. This month, the district asked parents to find alternative transport for their children when more than a third of the drivers did not show up.

Washington Township was one of the few school districts to speak out against state legislation that emerged from the national debate on critical race theory. The board opposed HB 1134, a proposal that would have prohibited “divisional concepts” from being discussed in schools. Bill was eventually killed.

This election

Only one out of two races is contested. For District 2, longtime incumbent Donald Kite takes on newcomer Kristina Frey. Incumbent William Turner is undisputed for his seat at large.

The winning candidates will join the council in January and serve until the end of December 2026. Council members receive approximately $4,000 per year, depending on the district. Superintendent Nikki Woodson has led the district since 2011.

Who votes and how to vote

All Washington Township School District Voters can vote for all races.

Voting register for residents of Marion County ends October 11. Early voting begins October 12 at the Indianapolis City-County Building, and other early voting sites open Oct. 29. On Election Day, residents of Marion County can vote at one of the county polling centers. Marion County residents can register to vote at indianavoters.in.gov.

Meet the candidates

District 2

Two candidates, including the incumbent, are running for this seat on the board of directors.

Donald Kite

Kite is the holder of District 2. He has served on the council for over 14 years and served as council chair for five of those years. Kite has three adult children who each attended Washington Township schools. In a statement, the attorney said he was seeking re-election to continue helping the district support students after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kite wants to close the district’s achievement gap and mitigate pandemic-related learning loss. He also wants to continue overseeing capital improvements funded by the property tax referendums in 2016 and 2020.

Kite is the only District 2 candidate approved by the Washington Township Education Association and the Washington Township Parent Council Network.

Voters can learn more about Kite by visit their campaign website.

Kristina Frey

Kristina Frey

Kristina Frey

Courtesy of Kristina Frey

Frey is the parent of a freshman in the district. Frey, a juvenile court attorney, said she is coming forward to bring a fresh perspective to a current parent in the district.

Frey said his work gave him an intimate knowledge of the challenges so many students face. Frey also served as committee chair for previous district property tax referendum campaigns and a former board member of the Parent Council Network.

Voters can find out more about Frey by visiting him campaign facebook page.

In general

Only the incumbent is a candidate for this seat on the Board of Directors.

William Turner

William Turner

William Turner

Courtesy of William Turner

Turner is the general seat holder and has served on the board since 2010. He has three adult children who each attended Washington Township schools. Turner is the Program Delivery Manager for the Markle Foundation and helps underrepresented populations find good paying jobs. Turner said he is running again to be part of the district’s focus on equity and improved learning outcomes for all students.

“We are starting to make progress and I want to continue this work,” he said. Voters can learn more about Turner by read his biography on the department’s website.

Contact WFYI education journalist Elizabeth Gabriel at [email protected] Follow on Twitter: @_elizabethgabs

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