HELIX - When David Talley ran for a seat on the Helix School Board he opposed an incumbent, and won. That bucked tradition.

"They told me that's not the way they do things here," he said.

Talley, who is chairman of the School Board, thinks he may have started a trend. There are three seats open in the School Board election scheduled for May 17, including Talley's, and six people are running.

"Normally they get together and talk informally about who will run for what seat," Talley said of his fellow townspeople. In the last municipal election, for example, Helix residents checked a list posted at the post office of who wants what office and wrote those names in on their ballots.

While the write-in process saves candidates from paying filing fees, it causes more work for the Umatilla County Elections Division, as those ballots must be hand-counted.

Talley, who holds position No. 1 on the board, is being opposed by Jim Williams. Position No. 5 incumbent Jay Spratling is facing challenger Laura King. Meanwhile two candidates have filed for position No. 4 held by Dave Goodwin, Tom Winn and Jeff Iles. The positions are all four-year terms.

Helix School Superintendent Barbara Ceniga said all of the candidates have children in the school district.

"It really shows the enthusiasm and progressiveness of the district," she said. "I'm really excited."

Such a wealth of options are unusual for Helix voters, and Griswold High School American government students plan to help clear up any confusion. The seniors will host a forum for all the candidates at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, in the school's multi-purpose room.

Teacher Darrick Cope said the students will ask each candidate a series of questions regarding how they might handle certain situations. There will then be time for questions from the audience. Dessert and beverages will be served.

For more information about the forum, call Cope at 457-2175.

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