Some Medford School Board candidates have unique history with district

MEDFORD, Ore.– The May special election is around the corner and it promises to be an interesting one for the Medford School District.

It has four open positions on the seven-person school board.

There are 11 people running and some have a complicated history with the school district.

One candidate has been outright banned from attending Medford School Board meetings for her behavior.

She said she was upset with the way the district handled the pandemic and its masking policy.

Medford woman Taryne Saunders is one of three candidates running for position five on the Medford School Board.

She’s running against Michelle Atkinson and incumbent Tod Hunt.

Saunders hasn’t been allowed back at a Medford School Board meeting since March 17th, where she gave a public comment about the district’s masking policy.

Saunders said at the meeting, “It’s disgusting to sit here and watch all of you make important decisions for the kids in this valley when none of you even have children in the district.”

She said a staff member told her a video rendering issue caused part of her comment to not be recorded.

Saunders said, “He tried to tell me that it was some sort of glitch or rendering issue and I called him a liar and I did use the f-word. I was very heated and passionate about what was going on.”

She said she received a letter from Superintendent Bret Champion and a phone call from MPD the next week saying that she had trespassed and would not be allowed back at meetings.

Saunders said she had already decided to run for the school board before the incident.

“This isn’t a personal vendetta, I have five children,” she said. “This means a lot to me. I think the priorities of the current board are not where they should be. They may think it’s a personal vendetta, I’m just a really passionate mom.”

She’s not the only person running for the school board who’s raising eyebrows.

Curt Ankerberg is running against incumbent Lilia Caballero for position seven on the school board.

Ankerberg has had several other unsuccessful runs for public office, including the Medford School Board, and has created controversy with many of his comments on social media.

For the other two positions in this election, Kendall Ferguson and Chris Miller are running against incumbent Ilex Brandenburger for position four.

Michael Williams and Robin Lee are running for position six.

Voting in this election closes at 8 p.m. on May 16th.

Ballots were just sent out last Friday.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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