(The Center Square) – The Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors has appointed replacements for two vacant positions as the group goes back to work to address a worsening budget deficit.

The board selected Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Director of Public Policy Sarah Clark for District 2 and United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Secretary-Treasurer Joe Mizrahi for District 4.

The Seattle Public School Board unanimously approved Clark to represent District 2, which includes the Sunset Hill, Ballard, Loyal Heights, Whittier Heights, West Woodland, Phinney Ridge, Green Lake, Magnolia and Interbay neighborhoods.

Mizrahi represents District 4, which includes Fremont, Queen Anne, Westlake, South Lake Union, Belltown, Denny Triangle and Central Business District.

Seattle Public Schools Board Director Gina Topp said Mizrahi was the best candidate because of his experience with budgets.

“Joe exemplifies some of the things that we are looking for – he brings board experience with him and budgeting experience, which I think is going to be critical in this moment,” Topp said at Wednesday’s Seattle Public Schools board meeting.

Both Mizrahi and Clark will be tasked with helping their fellow board directors address a projected deficit of $104 million for the 2024-2025 school year, $129 million for 2025-2026, and $153 million for the 2026-2027 school year.

According to Mizrahi’s resume, during his time at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, he managed an annual budget of over $32 million and over $50 million in total assets.

Mizrahi said in his application that the budget issues are one of his top priorities if appointed to the board.

As for Clark, her resume states that she has more than 10 years of experience analyzing state budgets and calculating local school and district budgets and expenditures. When it comes to the looming budget deficit facing Seattle Public Schools, Clark fears the cuts to faculty and staff that could be considered.

“I am concerned that the looming City of Seattle budget challenges within the city of Seattle may lead to further cuts which have in the past meant fewer counselors, fewer arts and sports programs, fewer support staff,” Clark stated in her application. “I believe the School Board has a role in these issues as they help develop and monitor the district’s budget, set goals for outcomes and have the authority to approve cuts.”

The Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors filled the two vacancies as a result of former School Board Directors Vivian Song (District 4) and Lisa Rivera (District 2) stepping down from their respective positions in response to a story from The Seattle Times that found Song violated a state residency requirement since moving out of her school board district at some point in 2022. Rivera also confirmed that she had moved out of her district as well.

Mizrahi and Clark will be sworn in to the Board of Directors on Thursday night.