Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD) is the state’s largest elementary school district (K-6) and good news: the CVESD outperformed its county and state counterparts in 2016 with 62% of students meeting or exceeding the standards in English. In math CV students scored 49% on average compared to the county’s 44% and the state’s 37%. See the report here.
However, you’ll still want to be careful. In May 2016, shortly before the election primary, Larry Breitfelder-Navas and consultant Kenneth Moser filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission saying that three trustees: Eduardo Reyes, Leslie Bunker and Francisco Tamayo made campaign violations connected to reporting donations and spending during the 2014 school board election. Now careful. Breitfelder-Navas only named three Democratic trustees and Breitfelder-Navas is a Republican who ran for Chula Vista City Council in 2012. You can see the Union Tribune article here.
Chula Vista Elementary School District oversees 49 schools, 29,200 students, and close to 2,500 total employees. The district serves about 318,148 residents in Chula Vista, Bonita, Sunnyside and South San Diego. The demographics include 68% Latino students and 11% Filipino students. The district’s operating budget for 2014-2015 was: $227,842,444. You can view the Chula Vista ESD Quick Facts here.
This November, two seats are up for election.
I wrote to each of the candidates asking for a brief description of themselves. Three wrote me back.
CVESD’s Seat No. 4 has 2 candidates. Incumbent Glendora Tremper wrote in:
I am proud of my role in Chula Vista Elementary School District’s (CVESD) many accomplishments during my last four years as a Board Member. Clear,equitable policy and decision-making has resulted in students, teachers, staff, and administrators who continue to successfully move CVESD forward as a model district.
- A $5 million plus commitment for Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) to all students while providing classroom teachers’ valuable time to collaborate
- Our national academic testing results (CAASP) outranked regional, state, and national average scores.
- Decreased obesity rates throughout the district through our Health and Wellness Program.
I am seeking re-election in November of 2016 to continue my inclusive focus and commitment to the children, teachers, parents, staff, administrators, and
community. I am committed to:
- Increasing parent involvement and education
- Expanding Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics for all
- Ensuring our district is culturally sensitive and proficient, for both adults and students
- Supporting classified staff with professional development and mentoring
- Providing teachers with the professional development, supports, and tools they need
- Maintaining fiscal accountability
I understand and respect all the individuals involved in the education process and value each person’s input. As a parent, special educator, and administrator, I want to continue using my skills, commitment, and passion in putting Chula Vista’s children first.
CVESD’s Seat No. 2 has 5 candidates running
Armando Farias, Principal of Marshall Elementary in the San Diego Unified School District, Wrote:
Education is the pillar of our society. It is the key to a successful and prosperous nation. Education has a purpose in this world. It is intended to be the key that opens doors to our students. Education is the key that sees no race, skin color or socio economic level. In our society, this key can forever change lives, improve human conditions and give freedom. For these reasons I am a candidate for the School Board of Chula Vista.
As an educator, school principal and father, I am deeply grateful for the opportunities education has conceded me. I believe in the promise of public education because it has enabled me to break away from the cycle of generational poverty. In my journey of life I have been a farm worker, a school custodian, a teacher and today a school principal. Public education has granted me the opportunity to reach my dreams and to raise my family in this beautiful city of ours, Chula Vista.
Today, I am grateful for my blessings and feel it is time to give back to our community. I aspire to work with you for the benefit of our students, teachers and families. I am bringing over 15 years of experience in education and leadership to support the shared decision-making within our district. I want to work on your behalf to ensure our students continue to make strong academic growth and most importantly, I want to work on ensuring our students are safe at school.
Rosa María initially submitted a statement, but then withdrew it. In a phone interview, she explained that this was her first time running and when–in an abundance of caution–she called the FPPC, or Fair Political Practices Commission, to ask if she could provide her information, the person on the phone said she could only provide a photo and a link to her website. She could not write up anything herself because once published, it would qualify as an in-kind contribution. She would then have to write it in as an in-kind contribution and since she must remain under the $2,000 threshold for campaign contributions, she wasn’t sure where that would put her financially in her campaign.
I did my due diligence as a citizen journalist and called the FPPC directly. The Advice Line transferred me to the FPPC’s Communications Department. From there, I emailed and talked with the Communications Director, Jay Wierenga. He wrote: “I will look into it but I am not aware of any FPPC regulations on this. There are no restrictions on a candidate talking with and to the media, nor vice versa. Seems like a pretty easy first amendment situation to me.”
I pressed Mr. Wierenga, asking why a FPPC employee would tell this to Ms. Robles. His response was, “I am checking into it… There are obviously no restrictions on any candidate, anywhere talking to the media.”
For a comprehensive list of school board elections in the South Bay, the Union Tribune’s Christine Huard provided a summary.