Do you know who your school district board members are?
By Barbara Zaragoza
I wrote to several of the candidates running in the various South Bay school districts and received quite a few responses. I have paired them with bond measures where appropriate. (See Part I about South Bay School Board elections here.)
(See General November 2016 Election Results for the South Bay here.)
Southwestern Community College Has A Bond Measure On The Ballot
Southwestern Community College elections are particularly important this year, since they are tied to another thing on your ballot: whether to accept yet another bond, this time to the tune of $400 million.
Measure Z says:
SOUTHWESTERN COLLEGE AFFORDABLE EDUCATION, JOB TRAINING/ VETERAN SUPPORT MEASURE. To repair/ upgrade local community college campuses, prepare students/ veterans for jobs/ university transfer, repair deteriorating roofs, electrical wiring, gas, water/ sewer lines, remove asbestos/ lead paint, improve energy efficiency/ campus safety/ security, upgrade, acquire, repair, construct classrooms/ labs/ sites/ facilities/ equipment, shall Southwestern Community College District issue $400 million in bonds at legal rates, no money for administrators’ salaries/ pensions, independent audits, citizen oversight, all funds used locally.
With a brand-spanking-new football stadium and a currently-under-construction aquatics center, it appears the community college forgot to maintain classrooms, providing them with basic necessities such as water lines, electrical wiring and removing asbestos. Must have been an oversight. I’m guessing someone said, “Let’s slap wording onto the measure that includes ‘Veteran Support’ and forget that we’re in a pickle now because roofs, sewer lines and campus safety really can’t be overlooked.”
Southwestern Community College Has Five Candidates This Year for Seat No. 3.
One of these 5 candidates running for the Southwestern Community College Board will ultimately oversee how funds get distributed. The Union Tribune did a write-up of the candidates here. Five candidates are running and three wrote in to San Diego Free Press. Here are their candidates statements:
Like me, you probably think it’s a good idea to allow community colleges like Southwestern College to offer affordable 4 year degrees. That’s why I dedicated 3 years of my life to help make that happen. I advocated and worked on legislation on behalf of students who want and need a more affordable, local option for higher education.
Perhaps you have a deeper, personal connection to Southwestern College. I first experienced the campus at a young age, joining my single mother at her evening classes because she couldn’t afford childcare. Through hard work and dedication, she earned her degree at Southwestern College, and raised her children with an appreciation of the difference a good education can make. When I was in high school, I took college courses offered by Southwestern College at my high school. Those courses helped me better prepare for my degree from UC Berkeley.
Like you, I am very proud of our fine community college. I know how much it means to our region and how many students it helps elevate. I believe in wise and fair administration of public funds & we need to think strategically in order to protect and enhance the resource, which has been part of our community for so many years.
Please trust me when I say that I have the professional background, experience, and commitment to be the public servant you hope I will be. The teachers of Southwestern College have endorsed my candidacy, along with the San Diego County Democratic Party, as have most of the leaders you have elected in the South Bay because they know me; they know my values, my accomplishments, and they are looking forward to working together to further elevate Southwestern College to be the best community college in California.
My name is Casey Tanaka and I am excited to be running for Seat 3 on the Southwestern Community College District Board of Trustees. I was born in Honolulu in 1976 and moved to Coronado in 1983. I attended public schools in Coronado from 2nd-12th grades and then went to UCSD, where I was awarded a BA with honors in History and a minor in Political Science in 1997. I started teaching AP US History in Coronado in 1999 and have been teaching at my alma mater ever since.
In 2000, at the age of 24, I ran unsuccessfully for the Coronado City Council. Two years later in 2002, I decided to give it one more try and I won a Council seat. I was re-elected in 2006 and in 2008, I was elected Coronado’s Mayor. I was re-elected Mayor in 2012 and because of term limits, I will be stepping down as Mayor in December of 2016.
I want to apply the expertise that I’ve accumulated as a classroom teacher and civic leader toward empowering students and adults in the South Bay. I am excited about the many great things going on at Southwestern College and I want to do my part to improve and protect this institution for our citizenry and for her future generations to come.
SWCC will be hiring a new Superintendent/President this year and if Prop R passes this November 2016, will be managing 389 million dollars in new funding. During my term as Mayor, we have successfully hired a new City Manager and have prudently budgeted for tens of millions of dollars on an annual basis. I have the experience and vision to guide SWCC through these crucial years and I ask for your support on November 8, 2016 to join your Board of Trustees.
I am running for the Southwestern Community College Board of Governors because I know I can make a difference and I am ready to serve.
I want to ensure that SWC maintains its accreditation as the current BOG works through the problems outlined by the ACCJC. Campus Moral/Climate should be front and center as well as Student Learning Outcomes. ‘Students are First’ should be the focus as well as recognizing the concerns of the Administrators, Faculty and Classified Staff.
I am a lawyer who was in the trenches as a deputy public defender for 24 years. I am now in private practice, but continue to advocate, litigate and represent various interest while being open minded. As I have served on 17 boards and commissions over the last 25 years, I can work with others and still keep in mind the purpose of resolving any issues for the best interest of each party.
I graduated from SDSU (BA Economics) and from UC Davis, School of Law (Juris Doctorate). I served as President of the NAACP San Diego Branch from 2009 – 2014. I recently was particularly honored to have received the 2016 Woman of the Year for the 79th Assembly District by the Honorable Dr. Shirley N. Weber.
I will be transparent, accountable, independent and accessible. That is what Southwestern Community College needs as it moves forward.
National School Districts Bond Measure
National School District has some important decisions to make as well. They have a measure for a bond to upgrade the schools, asking for $30 million.
Measure HH says: To repair and rebuild aging classrooms and facilities throughout the District; meet handicapped access requirements; increase student access to computers /technology; repair roofs; and improve campus security and student loading zones for increased safety; shall National School District be authorized to issue $30 million of bonds with interest rates below legal limits, annual audits, independent citizens’ oversight, no money for administrative salaries and all funds spent locally and not taken by the State and used elsewhere?
When I interviewed four candidates running for National City council, all unanimously agreed that the measure should be passed.
National City School Board Candidates
In addition, three candidates are running for two seats. Two candidates wrote into the San Diego Free Press.
As a lifelong National City resident, it has been a privilege to serve on the National School District Board.
During 8 years on the board, I worked hard to make sure every child gets the education and start in life they deserve. I am proud of what I have helped to accomplish:
Test scores are up. Technology has been upgraded in every school. The entire community helped pass a bond to make critical school repairs and bring air conditioning into all our classrooms. We’ve strengthened writing and math instruction. During the economic crisis, we maintained the District’s financial stability. We developed award-winning educational programs.
There is a great deal more to be done. It is critically important to provide our schools with a stable source of funding. Our children’s education should not be placed at risk because of wild swings in the economy. I, Barbara Avalos, need to continue to improve our academic programs and provide every student in National City with the support and skills to excel as they continue up the educational ladder.
It’s an honor to be supported by teachers and community members as well as Congressman Juan Vargas, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez and Mayor Ron Morrison.
As I finish my four year term as President of the National School District Governing Board I see our governing board full of integrity, leadership, and transparency. The National School District family is in the process of becoming a world class educational system.
My goal for the past four years has been to visit a school every week to truly understand the status of our school system. Through this process I led our schools to establish the Third- Grade swim program at our beautiful Las Palmas Pool in partnership with the City of National City. Together, with now retired Supe. Chrism Oram, we created a Six-Grade Camp Foundation to assist with camp costs and ensure students have this wonderful experience. We successfully passed Measure A, which upgrades all the schools electrical systems to provide students with high speed internet, air conditioning throughout the district and we just completed two phases of the project. We were successful in negotiating labor contracts with both of our unions, NCETA and CSEA, and selected a new Superintendent, Dr. Brady, to lead our transformation into one of the best school district in the region.
My feeling has always been from the start of my campaign and tenure – children will always be my first priority. Please, consider my work over the past four years and vote Brian Clapper for National School District on November 8, 2016.
San Ysidro School District
San Ysidro’s school district has been in the news many times over the last several years. This year, two candidates are running for one seat. I reached out to one of the candidates. A volunteer responded with her statement:
Irene is a retired school district employee. She dedicated over 40 years to San Ysidro’s children. She grew up in the community and attended our schools. Irene, along with her husband Manuel, raised their 2 children in the San Ysidro School District. She is now a proud grandmother to Natasha and Eduardo who attend Sunset Elementary.
Irene wants to:
- Provide the leadership and experience that will guide our district in the right direction. As a former employee, Irene has been through the ups and downs the district has faced and is now ready to lead so that the mistakes of the past aren’t repeated and our community schools can move forward.
- Offer a unique perspective as a former employee and parent, and now active grandparent of a student attending the district. Her extensive knowledge of the way the school district operates will benefit all.
- Be an advocate for all – for students and parents making sure their rights are not being trampled on. For teachers and classified employees making sure they receive the tools and respect they deserve, and for the community as a whole to get the best of the investment they make in the education of our children.
The Chula Vista School District is the largest in the State of California with 45 schools and about 27,700 students. Those candidates will be covered in next week’s North of the Fence.