A School Board farewell and Thank You letter from Peter Maier
By Peter Maier
The election in the District One of the Seattle School Board is over: Sharon Peaslee won by 1903 votes out of a total of 152,000 votes– a margin of 1-1/4% . I congratulate Sharon on the victory. She has already been sworn in as a member of the Board and has begun the hard work of helping the School District give our students the education they need and deserve.
The election outcome is a disappointment to me personally and to the many, many citizens who helped out in the campaign and with whom I have worked over the past four years. The final outcome was not what I expected given that on Election Night I had a 3,000 vote lead – about 4% -- of the 67,000 votes returned as of November 8. But as additional ballots were counted over the next week my lead slowly eroded and eventually Sharon took the lead. In the end the total number of ballots in the District One race far exceeded the total number of votes cast in 2007 – an increase of about 25,000 votes. This large and late surge of ballots favored Sharon Peaslee.
I worked hard on the campaign, as did many of you who helped me. Together we rang about 10,000 door bells, put out over 500 signs on private property, raised funds for an advertisement on cable TV and a mailer, and attended many community events. I thank your for your efforts on my behalf. Your support made the election close, but it was not enough to hold off the late surge for Sharon Peaslee. This was perhaps a reflection of the extensive media coverage of the Silas Potter fraud indictment and eventual arrest during the final week before Election Day.
I am proud of my work on the School Board and believe that I leave the Seattle School District in a stronger and more effective condition than when I joined the Board in 2007. Together with my fellow Board members we instituted a new Student Assignment Plan that builds communities and reduces transportation costs; we achieved innovative and stronger collective bargaining contracts with the teacher and principal unions; we fired the former Superintendent and hired Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield who has had a very promising start in her new position. Meanwhile, enrollment is growing after years of decline, and new schools have opened -- paid for with the levy funds that I championed. And perhaps most important, student achievement has increased and academic programs are stronger. Much more remains to be accomplished, but the path forward is now clear.
With my evenings and days no longer consumed by School Board meetings and duties, I now have more time and energy for my friends and family. I also can work on revitalizing my private law practice, which focuses on representing consumers and small businesses and on real estate and wills/estates.
I plan to continue to serve our public schools. There are many ways to help our schools, and I will seek how best to continue the work I have undertaken for the past two decades.
Again, thank you for the honor of serving on the School Board and for your support.