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Election 2020: North County’s School Board Candidates

Over the past two months, The Coast News sent electronic questionnaires in four batches to North County candidates in different levels of government, including federal (six candidates), state (four candidates), municipal/county (62 candidates for eight city councils and county board) and school boards (62 candidates in 12 districts).

The information contained herein is directly from 53 candidates running for various North County school board positions (Amy Caterina, candidate for San Dieguito Union High School District, withdrew her candidacy after completing our survey). While The Coast News reached out to every candidate, not everyone participated in our survey. Regardless, we wanted to share this information with voters so they can decide for themselves who is best suited to represent their interests in public office.

In the short answer section, we limited the candidates’ responses to 350 characters. Here is a map featuring one response from each candidate who participated in our survey.

For the relative priorities matrixes (see image below or download PDF), we instructed candidates to please assign relative priorities to several issues. While these issues all have merit and aren’t always mutually exclusive, in a world of constraints, every issue can’t have high priority relative to the rest.

Our main purposes here are (1) to help readers differentiate candidates (2) within the context of the whole region-wide field. While these issues are nuanced, we tried to compel candidates to take a meaningful “sixty-thousand-foot” position. For relative priorities: “When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.”  Graphic by Dan Brendel

Cardiff Elementary – At Large

Grimaldi, Steven

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

“Executive leader experienced is the art of bringing together diverse people, organizations, and cultures to achieve success. My priority – bring both sides together to get Cardiff Elementary built within budget. As a graduate of San Diego State University, I am proud to call Cardiff my home. This is my opportunity to give back to our community.”

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Let’s start with accountability. Accountability regarding Cardiff Elementary School rebuild. Accountability & transparency in all aspects of the school district budget. Numerous ideas that we can’t deep dive within this [newspaper questionnaire] context.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

The inability of the school district to come up with a Plan B regarding the Cardiff Elementary rebuild and articulate within the community. Regardless of lawsuits, Cardiff Elementary should be open today. There should have been a strong Plan B prior to demolition.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Class Size/Hiring More Teachers; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Discipline/School Climate;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • BELOW AVERAGE: None Indicated
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

I’m running for school board to help the children attending Ada Harris & Cardiff Elementary. To do that – financial discipline and putting the students first need to be THE priority in all decisions made. Letting students down due to mismanagement, ineptness, and lack of transparency are NOT the way to succeed.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

All of the above are high priority. We can’t boil the ocean. Working collectively, we can listen, address, and solve any issues our students and parents face today.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Orr, Nancy

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

Cardiff schools face urgent challenges. As a parent and long-time volunteer, I draw on professional, education and business experience to find and fight for continued quality instruction in safe, modern, state of the art schools. I will work diligently to complete repairs and needed classrooms at Ada Harris and Cardiff Elementary campuses.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Cardiff school district has always been fiscally prudent. Ongoing lawsuits must be resolved.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

I approve of the Board decisions made in the last few years.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Pandemic-forced distance learning took an educational/emotional toll on children and families. We must allocate the resources necessary to help them fill in any gaps. [That a] lawsuit forced halts to build essential classrooms is unconscionable. We must allocate the resources necessary to safely access Cardiff classrooms while we resolve the legal issues.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Cardiff school district has achieved its goal of small class sizes. If enrollment increases, more teachers will be added.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Stewart, Rhea

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

Our family has lived in Cardiff since 1989. All three of my children went to Cardiff Elementary, Ada Harris, Oak Crest, and graduated from SDA. I work in curriculum development, specializing in mathematics and science education. I’m running to focus on health and safety and build on our district’s outstanding educational standards.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Work with the superintendent and board to complete Cardiff School construction and resolve the legal issues.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

I had hoped that the litigation over the Cardiff School construction could have been resolved more swiftly.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Having served on the district’s Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, it’s important for the district to be fiscally responsible and to continue to be transparent about spending, especially with Measure GG funds.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Our district provides extracurriculars that provide extended opportunities to students. I support the continuation of these programs.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Swinnea, Billy

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I will bring over 30 years of experience working in the construction industry to help the school board navigate the needs of the Cardiff Elementary school system. I’m a California veteran and a Vietnam Era veteran, 82nd Airborne. I have had many wonderful, memorable experiences in public school systems, and I want to give back to the community.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Public-private partnerships would be the best idea to improve district finances.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

I’m not completely aware [about] the decision on the construction of the new school, but it seems to be going badly.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Class Size/Hiring More Teachers; Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Discipline/School Climate;  Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • BELOW AVERAGE: None Indicated
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Government Transparency / Accountability is extremely is important.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps” seems at this time to be the least important.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Carlsbad Unified – Trustee Area 2

Deming, Frank

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

Technology executive with global experience developing and deploying virtual corporate learning systems and digital transformation programs. Key agenda is to accelerate integration of digital technology into skills-based learning pathways that prepare students for the virtualized, distributed workplaces of the post-COVID-19 world.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

  1. Partner with other local agencies to provide low-cost, community WiFi service
  2. Use available contingency funds to optimize virtual learning experience during disruptive events, e.g., COVID-19 epidemic.
  3. Activate post-K-12 education providers, civic organizations, and businesses to engage the entire community in a lifelong-learning journey.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

School board decision on 9/9/2020 to implement 50% virtual-learning model without engaging in adequate dialogue with parents, teachers and other key stakeholders. No one expects the district to come up with a perfect solution to disruption as severe as COVID-19, but we can expect them to engage the community throughout the decision-making process.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Resources for Parents/Families; Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Discipline/School Climate

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

To bridge individual “achievement gaps” establish an elective, for-credit, tutor program where overachieving students can tutor the underachievers and explore community-based virtual “study-groups”. And extend virtual-tutor approach to support and encourage lifelong learning for the entire family.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

  1. Schools already have adequate facilities and options to provide the required physical education activities.
    2. Resources are better allocated to address the underlying causes of issues that require discipline or impact “school climate”, whatever that means?

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Williamson, Elisa

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

During my 20 years serving on the CUSD School Board, we’ve established a reputation for high academic achievement & excellent extracurricular programs; our major construction projects have been completed on time & within budget. My governance experience & long-term perspective can keep the district moving forward even during pandemic challenges.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

The CUSD Board has been fiscally prudent, maintaining a 5% reserve in spite of receiving less per-pupil funding than almost any other district in San Diego County. We need increased, equitable funding from the state and maximum flexibility in how our limited funds are spent.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

On 9/9/2020, I voted to adopt the Hy-Flex option (it passed 3-2). After the meeting, I realized that for me, the unintended negative consequences of the Hy-Flex option outweighed the benefits. I asked for and received the opportunity to readdress the item at a special meeting on 9/11 where the A/B Hybrid was adopted by a 5-0 vote.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Class Size/Hiring More Teachers; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Resources for Parents/Families;  Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

With school closures and distance learning, the most severe learning loss occurs with our most vulnerable students and the lack of in-person contact can cause long-lasting social-emotional and behavioral harm. We are focusing on social and emotional well-being while assessing and applying resources to fill in the learning gaps.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Each of the items listed above is related in some way to student learning, which is always my focus. The priority I give these individual issues changes regularly. For example, “Discipline & School Climate” isn’t a top priority today while we are distance learning, but once schools reopen, it might become a very high priority.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Carlsbad Unified – Trustee Area 3

Guaderrama, Rhonda

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

Through my work, I have seen firsthand the effects the pandemic is having on our children and believe there has never been a more important time than now to advocate for quality education. I see this period of upheaval as an opportunity to create new ways of thinking about education and want to ensure we continue to put children first.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

It is a very tumultuous year for district finances due to the pandemic, ensuing school closures, state budget cuts and the uncertainty of what the next year will bring. My top priority is to look beyond this school year and work on projections for the 2021/2022 school year, to ensure that the district is able to weather the crisis over the long haul.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

The decision on 9/9/20, Item 8.1, to support the Hi-Flex model as a return to school plan. It was not what the staff recommended, gave some students more in-person days than others and required shuffling teachers, in an already chaotic year. The A/B model is more equitable, is easier for the district to execute and doesn’t require switching teachers.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Resources for Parents/Families

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Fiscal judiciousness will be critical as the district navigates the “new normal.” There are many unknowns: intermittent closures, funding uncertainty, lost ADA. I will ensure that there is a focus on long-term fiscal sustainability and creating a balanced budget in the 2021-22 school year.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

There are many organizations that provided resources, services and referrals for children and families. I don’t believe it is necessary to duplicate efforts when there are plentiful resources already available.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Pearson, Ray

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

For the last 6 years, I have been committed to our schools and community safety by passing Proposition HH, increased opportunities for college and career. I have been mindful of the taxpayers with supporting the refinancing bonds to save $19.2 million and ensuring a rainy-day fund. Experience matters during this pandemic to ensure student success.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Increase solar to reduce the cost of electricity. Advocate with the federal government to provide additional financial resources for special education. Continue to grow rainy day reserves.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

When I disagree with the majority vote I support the final decision.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Working with my colleagues making sure students who have gotten behind during the pandemic are identified and brought back up to where they should be in learning.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Improved/expanded facilities & classroom equipment because we have [that] already in motion, because of the passage of Proposition HH to expand and improve facilities and classroom equipment.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Del Mar Union – At Large

Grosner, Marianne

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I will work tirelessly to bring much-needed accountability and transparency to education in our community. I am running to bring a parent voice to the board in order to help fix transparency and poor decision-making. I am a strong believer in fiscal responsibility. Parents should be partners in decision-making directly involving their children.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✓ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Consider outsourcing non-instructional services. Districts can save in legal fees by providing services to special ed students which may reduce costs and improve educational outcomes – a win-win for parents and district finances. Look at ways to minimize administrative costs.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

On 8/18/20 at SDUHSD, I questioned the purchase of $5 million for 13,300 Chromebooks [laptop computers] for every single student with COVID relief funds. This could set an expensive precedent needing to replace/repair them every few years. I would recommend Chromebooks for only those that needed it and spend other funds on PPE, upgrading HVAC, plexiglass, etc.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Class Size/Hiring More Teachers; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Resources for Parents/Families; Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Discipline/School Climate
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

For accountability, I would avoid delegating decisions only to the superintendent. I would make decision-making processes and decisions as public as possible. I would work hard to increase public confidence in the district – town halls and other public meetings are necessary to build that trust.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Since Del Mar Union SD is an elementary school district, it seemed that Job and Personal Finance was not as high priority as other things like Mental health.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Halpern, Erica

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

In my years on the board and as president we have diligently built a rainy-day fund. This allowed Del Mar schools to reopen full-time and in-person with extensive safety measures. Parents can also choose top-notch remote learning. I’m running to preserve exceptional education, maintain fiscal discipline and keep our schools open safely.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Our board has treated taxpayer money as our own and built up a budget reserve to protect our exceptional education and low class sizes in emergency times like these. My priority is to continue the rigorous budget discipline that ensures we keep our expenditures where they should be – in the classroom.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

Our Board of Trustees doesn’t always agree, but we work collaboratively to reach outcomes that are best for kids and families. Strong community engagement and robust public input are critical for good decision-making, so I consistently advocate that the district find ways to receive meaningful and authentic input.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

While our district ranks in the top 1% in the state and has the highest test scores in San Diego, the focus is on making sure every child succeeds. Highly trained teachers and low class sizes mean individual needs are addressed from the earliest ages. All students learn critical thinking and problem-solving skills that prepare them for success.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Job / Personal Finance / Other Life Skills. These are generally not part of the curriculum in elementary schools.
Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Van Der Linden, Kymberly

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I will always go above and beyond to solve a problem. I left my career to raise my three daughters and instill core values that would help my kids thrive and be self-reliant. I am running because I care deeply about the future of our kids. I want to be their voice and help provide the best education to secure their future.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✓ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✓ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

1:  Students First Project
2:  Five Essential Senses – RELOAD
3:  Spend Wisely Initiative

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

Parents voted for Measure MM because they were promised new projects to improve and modernize the school, for example, a new MUR at Carmel Del Mar. The district needs to fulfill the promises to parents, prioritize projects and spend bond money efficiently and wisely. Bond money should last for 30 years.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Resources for Parents/Families;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: None Indicated
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Discipline/School Climate; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

1: Students First Project:  More After School Programs. Additional resources & services to help all students – overachiever, underperformer, medically challenged.
Teacher & Staff Performance Reviews.
2: Five Essential Senses – RELOAD:  Pencil Rules i.e. cursive, creative writing. Fun With Numbers. Get Messy Art R’Us, Be A Rockstar. Read-a-thon.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Spend Wisely Initiative – Practical spending on what matters to preserve the culture of the school and the community.  For example,  spending on MUR, Playground, Core Curriculum over expensive solar panels.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Wah Mok, Gee

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I am a native San Diegan and an attorney. I moved to Carmel Valley so my children could benefit from the outstanding schooling offered by DMUSD. I seek re-election because I believe in the value of education and the opportunities it affords. I prioritize educational excellence, fiscal responsibility and keeping our community safe and healthy.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

We should always be forward-thinking and prudently plan how we best deploy our resources. We have carefully managed our budgets and responsibly built up our reserves. Even despite recent challenges, we have been able to maintain low class sizes, pay competitive salaries to our teachers and continue to offer a stellar education to our students.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

For every decision I make, I believe in a thorough decision-making process. Whether I agree or disagree on a particular issue, I gather as much information from as many stakeholders as possible, notably the community and teachers. Having thoroughly considered all sides leads to making informed, well-reasoned decisions.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Fiscal Management/Discipline; Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Discipline/School Climate
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

We provide an excellent education for the students of our community because we focus on maintaining a healthy budget and listening to the needs of our students.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Job/Personal Finance/”Life Skills” play less of a role in my K-6 elementary district, although we do provide excellent training in critical problem-solving and design-thinking skills which are necessary for career success.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Encinitas Union – At Large

Adams, Christian

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I have two children in the district. I currently serve on the Encinitas Educational Foundation and the Environmental Commission. I’ve been in the solar industry for 15 years and I will be an advocate for all our residents. I will focus on safety and transparency and make sure teachers have the resources they need to be successful.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

There are many county bonds that the district could be applying for that are not being utilized. This would save the school money and upgrade many facilities and programs. I also support Proposition 15 which would close a tax loophole for large corporations and create a $10 billion-plus windfall for the state and schools.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

In 2018, the school board rejected supporting the reform of Prop 13 (Now 15). I believe the board was mostly misinformed on the proposition and hadn’t done their research. As a board member, I would have researched all the facts and informed the other members.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

EUSD has a social-emotional program called TRAC which stands for team building, regulation, acceptance, and community. I believe this program should be expanded to all the schools and given the resources it needs to expand and flourish. TRAC gives students and teachers vital tools that make the school environment a healthy one.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Young kids will learn personal finance and job skills as they grow. Grades K-6 should be focused on the whole child which encompasses their emotional and intellectual side. Having the right building blocks creates a strong foundation. Once that’s established, any technical training can flourish.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Dimedio, Leonardo

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

Back to school full time!! Board Policy #0415 bars public from secret “Equity Work,” political indoctrination committee in violation of sunshine laws, no minutes being kept. Secret “consultants” making rules, parents cut out. Father & former mayor fights to empower you & to focus resources on teaching factual understanding over political opinions.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✓ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Wealthy locals leave millions to non-profits, it’s time for the district to attract estate giving. It keeps taxes down and increases services to our students. Would also contact the voters to get community input; our district is packed with intelligent parents who are not being heard.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

Our local school board is NOT independent. Board law #0415 supplied by the California School Boards Association (CABA), which controls the laws the board passes by supplying “model laws.” Take back local control from Marxist trained CABA leaders who want to indoctrinate our children under the guise of “Equity Work.” Get politics out of our schools!

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”; Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • BELOW AVERAGE: None Indicated
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Our local school board is NOT independent. Board law #0415 supplied by the California School Boards Association (CABA), which controls the laws the board passes by supplying “model laws.” Take back local control from Marxist trained CABA leaders who want to indoctrinate our children under the guise of “Equity Work.” Get politics out of our schools!

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

From the choices supplied I would not pick any as a low priority. All of them make it into the top priority list. You address them and THEN they become low priorities because solutions have been found and implemented. Success is measured by a board’s ability to reduce the high priority list through accomplishment.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Smarandache, Adina

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I escaped communism, it’s now being implemented in our schools here. Soft indoctrination techniques slowly radicalize our children as they mature into adults using the guise of historical injustice/inequalities that no longer exist to create division and conflict. We have good teachers, school must be about learning not political indoctrination.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✓ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

I’m not aware of any fiscal problems. My goal will be for the board to live within its means. We can refinance our existing debt with the current low-interest rates and save a million or more. Public input can also expose no-brainers like this.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

Our school is quietly implementing the “1619 Project” to rewrite our history to portray the USA as an evil nation through a secret Equity Committee to implement an undisclosed 3-yr plan in violation of the Sunshine laws (Brown Act). Indoctrination is NOT the purpose of our schools. Public/parents have rights to see and be heard!

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Government’s duty is to serve the public, reaching its decisions in full view of the public. A foundation on which our schools improve and our children become critical thinkers. This requires public observation and participation to ensure ethical standards & to stop fraud/corruption. Through this flow all other benefits to our community.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

All these priorities are important and I would hope not to be in a position to have to make such a decision but if forced, Social-Emotional resources are available widely through other sources and the school staff that deals with this already does an excellent job so this would be my selection.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Taylor, Marlon

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

Equity and diversity are hallmarks of our society. A large number of our community members have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 — academically, financially, and even physically. I believe in collaboration centered around respect and inclusion. I’m running because I want positively to effect change in our community, starting with our children.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

My top priority is to make sure that we are making financial decisions that positively benefit the education and safety of our children. The citizens of Encinitas are trusting us to do all of the necessary due diligence to make the best choices for our schools. I will not take that trust for granted.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

I disagree with the decision to reopen on Sept 21. With fall break, Thanksgiving and the holiday break occurring within 70 days of the reopening, the risk of COVID exposure increases. The potential stops and starts will be disruptive for the children and challenging for working families. I would’ve advocated for reopening after the holidays.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Resources for Parents/Families
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”; Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Government Transparency/Accountability

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

COVID has highlighted the importance of addressing diversity, equity and the need to decrease the achievement gap in our schools. I will support our teachers and leadership as they navigate through these challenging times. I will take a pragmatic approach when looking for solutions to address the specific education and social needs of our children.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

I believe that being trustworthy, honest, transparent and accountable are essential requirements that an individual must have when seeking public office. As a public servant, there will be times when you are going to have to make unpopular decisions. It shouldn’t require extra effort to do the right thing and stand by your decision.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Wheeler, Matt

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I’m a husband and father to two young girls who will be entering the district soon. This is a great school district and I’m running so that I can do everything I can to make sure it stays that way and improves where it needs to. I strongly believe the school board’s role is to listen to the community and look out for our children’s best interests.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✓ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Explore renting out unused school facilities on weekends and during summer to raise revenue, end collective bargaining for school vendors, and advocate for pension reform and state relief of district contributions to pensions.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

I think the district should have applied for a waiver to give parents and students an option for in-person education for 5 days a week beginning with this school year that began in August. I think that option, for those that want it, should be available now.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”; Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Discipline/School Climate;  Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Class Size/Hiring More Teachers
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Resources for Parents/Families

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Our children are going to be facing learning loss due to the pandemic and I believe we need to take a careful look at the budget to ensure that every dollar received is prioritized for students and learning loss mitigation. I also think that transparency and communication in district decision making are vital to achieving this.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Although this is important, resources for parents/families was the only selection on this list that didn’t directly relate to the children. Students should be the primary focus right now.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✓ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Williams, Jodie

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I am running for EUSD School Board to ensure all voices, especially our working moms, are included in school board decisions. I have two boys in this school district and am an attorney, so I have a vested interest in these issues. We need to come together as a community to get through the next few years, and I hope to be a catalyst for uniting us.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

I think we should take a holistic approach at reviewing district finances each year, with a goal of focusing resources on programs that most benefit our students long-term. We should assess the unexpected spending incurred as a result of COVID-19 and see what opportunities present themselves as areas in need and where resources can be diverted.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

This year, we could have held off bringing the entire population back on campus. Some students desperately need the structure and resources school provides and should return as quickly as possible. Others could have waited, which would have allowed us to ensure that we stay off the watch list and once brought back to school we stay in school.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Resources for Parents/Families; Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

My highest priority is making sure our families have the resources they need to be successful in any learning environment. I intend to examine what resources we were able to provide our families when we transitioned to remote learning, what our families need to ensure each student can be online, and how we can better support our students.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Relatively speaking, my lowest priority is ensuring our students have personal finance and related skills. While still a priority, the majority of our students are of the age where reading, writing and basic math skills are the foundation to focus on first, before building on the concepts of job and life skills outside of the classroom.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Escondido Union – Trustee Area 1

Paulson, Douglas

No Response / Declined

Escondido Union – Trustee Area 3

Muga, Joe

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

Ph.D. psychologist with a Master’s degree in public administration. Daughter attended EUSD schools. Wife teaches in EUSD schools. All of our students deserve the highest quality education in a safe and healthy learning environment where their social-emotional needs are cared for. All district employees deserve a safe work environment.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Reduce deficit spending. Reduce declining enrollment. Improve community involvement and partnerships. Ensure stringent audit procedures. Ongoing program effectiveness measures eliminating ineffective programs. Offer effective specialized educational programs.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

I have disagreed with the board not providing adequate consequences for students who bring weapons on campus and at times threatening other students. As a psychologist, we need to care for the social-emotional needs of students, and at times that should be manifested as an increased structure for the student thus lessening danger risk for other students.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Fiscal Management/Discipline; Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Fiscal solvency is the most critical item a school board must ensure. School boards need to be responsible with the taxpayers’ money. It is the public’s money, not the district’s money. The better a school board is at being fiscally responsible the more academic and non-academic programming can be made available to educate the whole child.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

The reality is that the school board needs to ensure the education of the whole child and that means after-school programming, art, music, physical education, social-emotional care and family engagement. The board must prioritize issue areas as districts have limited financial revenue. School board governance is difficult and experience matters.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Olson, Mark

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

Educating the whole child is not just measured by attendance and grades but must include social and emotional wellbeing, physical and mental health, and valuable social interaction. COVID-19 may change how education is delivered going forward, which will require creative leadership and “out of the box” thinking to ensure our students success.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✓ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

All spending must have a direct connection to serving the students. If there cannot be a direct connection to serving the students, then that specific line item needs to be reevaluated or modified to be able to show how that spending will benefit the students.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

We currently have a surplus of campuses due to years of declining enrollment. Yet we are building a new facility on the Del Dios campus, costing millions of dollars. This is money that could have been used to invest in our current facilities and streamline our offerings and invest in technology for all campuses to serve the students.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Fiscal Management/Discipline; Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Class Size/Hiring More Teachers; Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Hold the district accountable for all spending. There has been so much waste with no accountability. I will not approve any purchase, budget, or spending plan unless there is a direct and measurable accountability plan associated with that investment.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Too often the answer in public education is “if we had more money and more teachers we could overcome these challenges.” Decades of data suggest this is not true. Instead we need to provide teachers with technology in the classroom that will allow them to teach in different ways to suit the individual students. This is where our focus should be.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Escondido Union – Trustee Area 5

Huston, Frank

No Response / Declined

Escondido Union High – Trustee Area 3

Golding, Michelle

No Response / Declined

Knight, Christi

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

Christi Knight is a wife, mother, graduate of EUHSD, and current elected member of the Board of Education for the past 7 years. Christi Knight has worked closely with the Escondido community to develop successful public policy initiatives for the County of San Diego for over a decade focused on education, health, social services and public safety.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Christi’s top priorities include expanding partnerships with businesses and industries to provide more opportunities for hands-on learning that will translate into real-world experience and high-paying jobs for our students. Christi will boldly advocate for innovative public/private partnerships to address the rising costs of special education.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

Christi Knight can proudly say with integrity that she has not voted for something that she disagreed with during the 7 years she has served on the Board.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Resources for Parents/Families; Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Students face unprecedented challenges intensified by a global pandemic. Food insecurity, anxiety and depression, instability at home are factors that increase risk for drug/alcohol use, gangs, exploitation and suicide. Christi will strengthen partnerships with community providers to increase access to mental and social-emotional supports.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

For the past 7 years, Christi Knight has been a champion for school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports. Through a restorative-based approach, EUHSD has reduced the expulsion rate and continues to focus on proactive efforts to improve school safety and promote positive student behavior.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Escondido Union High – Trustee Area 4

Okereke, Ogechi

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I am a mother to 3 high school kids, an inventor and a software trainer. I have 2 Bachelor’s degrees. I am running for the Escondido Union High School District Board Area 4 (EUHSD) because I believe that children, all children, especially our young adults, are entitled to and deserve quality education and representation at all levels.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Out of the box ideas / nontraditional methods by partnering with other high-achieving districts to fund our schools. We can also look into monetization of some of our assets.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

Accountability and transparency: The current board is out of touch. It lacks diversity of the mind and of community. The public was cut out of the decision of hiring a new superintendent in 2019. This is a trend that should not be encouraged, especially when public funds are at stake.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • BELOW AVERAGE: None Indicated
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Education is about the ability to think. Providing teachers the tools to propel our students is very important. On the other hand, the students need to be mentally prepared to engage, learn, retain and then face the world. Tools are very important for the next generation and for a more rounded education.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Achievement gaps: when we have the right tools in place, we can mitigate the gaps in the system

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Rodarte, Eric

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I am running to address the issues I saw in various Escondido public schools. The education I received has enabled me to obtain two BAs in economics and political science. I hope to be an inspiration to students coming from similar backgrounds as myself — coming from lower-income households and struggling with mental-health related issues.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✓ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

I want to continue to prepare students for the labor force and college. I want to ensure they are all aware of the irreversible effects of climate change. And to ingrain in them a drive to better their community through volunteering and national service.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

N/A

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Government Transparency/Accountability
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Athletics/Extracurriculars

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Adolescence is a time of growth and transition and students need to have the proper resources to address issues they may face with regards to bullying, sexual identity, or simply self-esteem in a time where social media consumes much of their lives. Having dealt with anxiety and depression, I would increase the funding to mental health resources.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

I believe that students should have the best opportunity to learn and compete when applying for colleges and employment. However, I do not believe we should favor a group of students (athletes) at the expense of the general population — not everyone has the resources to participate in sports.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

White, Dane

No Response / Declined

Oceanside Unified – Trustee Area 2

Evans, Eleanor

No Response / Declined

Oceanside Unified – Trustee Area 5

Arvizu, Susana

No Response / Declined

Blessing, Mike

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I have served on the school board the past 12 years and feel duty-bound to carry on through these awful COVID-19 pandemic times to serve our district the best way I can. I previously served for 34 years as the Planning Director and Deputy City Manager for the City of Oceanside and helped shape many of the positive characteristics of the city.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

The COVID-19 situation clearly exposes more inequities between basic aid (wealthy school districts) and state minimum funded districts (like Oceanside and many other districts). The State Legislature needs to modify the funding formulas to be on a more equitable footing to meet the needs of our students and families here in Oceanside.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

Several years ago, the district was presented an opportunity to partner with the Orange County Performing Arts Charter School at our Jefferson Middle School site. If I had the opportunity to do this over again, I would first seek out a consensus from our families who had kids attending Jefferson, before we committed to explore the effort further.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: None Indicated
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

I will hold staff accountable to funding limits the board sets and expand, to the maximum extent practicable, the social and emotional supports for all of our students and families that need them in these most difficult of COVID times, as well as when the pandemic ceases to negatively impact our lives.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Government transparency is an important issue, but it is the lowest priority at the school district level due to the fact that so many rules and regulations are promulgated at the statewide level regarding the teaching of our kids and the training and use of our teachers and support staff. Effective change at the local level is still important.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Maddison, Todd

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

Parent voices need to be heard in education. I’m a parent of 3, served as the Parent Representative on the LCAP committee, leadership of the Parent Advisory Committee, and a member of the ECHS Site council. I’ve also been a company CEO and national customer service executive. We need strong leadership to put Kids First! in Oceanside.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

OUSD has been fiscally mismanaged for years. Parents and teachers want to prioritize smaller class sizes, enrichment programs and better instructional materials. Instead, the district gives itself raises, including to groups of people with median total compensation of $158K. We need to stop cutting from our kids to fund higher pay for adults.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

In Sept. 2019, OUSD cut buses from the poor Latino kids of Crown Heights because they couldn’t afford it. Two months later (Dec. 17), the board approved extra raises for district staff that cost $5 million, including for admins with total median compensation of $158,000/year (items 9 B-E). I would not have approved those raises. Kids first!

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Class Size/Hiring More Teachers; Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Resources for Parents/Families; Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Almost 90% of OUSD’s budget is labor – pay and benefits. I would leave the existing annual scheduled raises in place, but would take a hard look at comparable pay rates for similarly educated workers before making decisions that award raises above that schedule. I would also look for ways to save on the cost of healthcare and other benefits.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

OUSD’s latest facility study shows it is at only 66% of capacity, and enrollment is projected to shrink. There is little need to expand facilities. Athletics and extracurriculars are important, but not if providing extra funding for them created a need to cut from basic educational services for our kids. Our kids’ educational needs come first.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Rancho Santa Fe – At Large

Blatt, Christopher

No Response / Declined

Karches, Jason

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

RSF School should be extraordinary. With 20 years of leading companies, “best practices” is good but not extraordinary. Following the proven path of Dr. R. Roger Rowe, I will reinvigorate and reconnect the community using my strong local roots, relationships and business acumen to engage community support to become extraordinary again.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✓ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

I know how to build successful, strategic partnerships. Our school district is blessed with a unique community with resources that has demonstrated its support in the past. I will take the lead to build partnerships that will provide us the opportunities we need to augment district finances.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

It is prudent for the district to be fiscally responsible. When faced with a financial shortfall a few years ago, I would have preferred the board to ask the community at large for support before laying off our teacher “heroes.” With COVID-19, I anticipate financial uncertainty and want to protect the school by leveraging my community connections.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Class Size/Hiring More Teachers; Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Discipline/School Climate;  Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

My highest priority is securing, through my work on the board, the long-term future of the school district. I will not support decisions based on short-[sighted] trends or personal agendas. I am committed to building an extraordinary school for my daughter, and her future children, through long-term planning, transparency and fiscal responsibility.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Any expense that does not directly improve or move us closer to district priorities and goals needs to be evaluated. Education is priority number one. While school facilities and job/life skills are important issues, at this moment in time other more important issues need the Board’s focus to align us with our district priorities.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Rohatgi, Rosemarie

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I’m a parent with a strong board experience and health background. I’m active in our church and community and donate to RSFEF. I’ve attended every superintendent/school board meeting/Zoom this year, so I’m aware of all issues. I listen to all viewpoints, operate on fact-based decisions and serve without an agenda.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

We are fortunate to have a balanced budget at present. We are continuing to monitor and determine what resources to bring in while maintaining fiscal discipline. We are also fortunate to have access to RSF Educational Foundation (to which I donate) to enhance our school offerings with small class sizes, enrichment and cutting-edge curriculum.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

We had layoffs a couple of years ago and I would like to have seen better communication coming from the board and superintendent. Since then, I have found the board and superintendent to be more transparent.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • BELOW AVERAGE: None Indicated
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Growth for All Students: I will work to provide individualized growth for each student at all levels. We need to provide support to those who need gaps to fill, while delivering enrichment to those who are exceeding grade expectations. This way, we are able to challenge all students while we continue to deliver a premium education and enrichment.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

We want to ensure we maintain small class sizes so we can have personalized instruction K-8, cutting-edge curriculum and instruction, offer enrichment classes. We are fortunate to employ credentialed teachers in areas such as art, music, science, whereas other districts have classroom teachers or volunteers teaching these.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Ross, Annette

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I’m Annette Ross. My husband Bill and our 5 daughters have lived in Rancho Santa Fe for 4 years. This community is a treasure. I want to serve our school. I support the safe measures we have in place for in-person learning. Dr. Rowe envisioned excellence in education for our children. I want to help continue his vision for our exemplary school.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✓ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

The current board at Roger Rowe has worked hard to achieve fiscal responsibility. Thankfully our current surplus can help us with the crisis of COVID-19. I want to help maintain what has been established.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

I do not have any strong disagreements with the current board’s decisions. The recent layoffs were regrettable. The one thing I might change, if I could, is greater transparency; but the cuts were necessary to address the budget deficit

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: None Indicated
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

My best solution is to have an open discussion with the current board, listen to their input, weigh opinions, and then take advice from the experts depending on the issue.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Life skills are critical but not at the elementary school level. There is still time to learn to balance a checkbook after 8th grade!

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Seitz, Paul

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

Hello. I am a horseman/ranch owner, a veteran and, most importantly, a husband and father. I spend most of my day training horses. We moved here for the school. I am running because R Rowe has really lost a lot of what made it stand out! I will fight to get all of those back and build a better “TEAM” atmosphere.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✓ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Revenue is key. We have lost a lot of donors to our foundation because of the inability to offer all of the extras we have become accustomed to. With our cuts last year, the school can no longer operate without hiring a lot of temporary workers. High standards and school enthusiasm generate more donors.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

The severity of the teacher layoffs. The board was not transparent. They fired so many teachers that the school can no longer support the mission of exceptional education for our kids. Getting on budget is important; however, it must be done in phases to make sure you can still produce quality. And those laid off need to be treated with respect!

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: None Indicated
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

I will fight to never lose our small class sizes! It is proven that smaller class sizes produce better education for all children.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

My lowest priority on this list is the “improved facility.” We are a pretty new school with some of the most advanced technology around. We need more focus elsewhere.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Tree, John

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I’m running for school board now, in this very challenging time, because I believe I can make a difference. I currently hold the rank of Brigadier General in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, and serve part-time at the Pentagon. My focus is on keeping our kids safe during this COVID-19 pandemic and to provide strong governance to the administration.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

I believe in full transparency with the community, and that our school board needs to be fiscally responsible. The board needs to understand the budgets and make sound decisions. Our school district has an amazing RSF Education Foundation, and we need to fully support and strengthen that organization since all their funds directly support us.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

N/A

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Class Size/Hiring More Teachers
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Discipline/School Climate;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

My personal top priority wasn’t even listed on this chart, but it’s keeping our children, teachers, and administrators safe during the global COVID-19 pandemic. RSF was the first school to open in our county, and the administration is following rigorous protocols that are grounded in science. We need to make sure we stay vigilant on this.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Being forced to spread my responses across this grid is what caused the issue of “job/personal finance/life skills” to be my lowest priority issue, simply because our district is K-8 and there are more important things to focus on in this age group.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Williams, Ellen

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I have 10 children, so I have a vested interest in RSF schools being the best. I have a Master’s in Education, a finance background, am an entrepreneur, and am currently attending law school — which provides valuable insight into district matters. As a former foster youth and current foster parent, I provide insight into how to fix educational gaps.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Our district is endowed with plentiful resources. I would take notes from other, less affluent districts across the country, which are outperforming ours, as my first step in streamlining spending without sacrificing quality, both cultural and academic.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

While I cannot begin to understand the pressures that the board and the superintendent must be under in managing the schools, the decision with which I most disagree is the lack of transparency with the 20% layoff of teachers in 2019.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”; Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Resources for Parents/Families;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

A universal design for learning model would call for students to have targeted interventions and individualized plans, allowing each student to reach their highest potential. We now have the technology to teach life skills to students as well as ensure that all students are prepared for a rigorous high school curriculum.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

We are uniquely positioned as one of the most endowed school districts in California. As such, cutting spending or providing financial assistance to our families isn’t a top priority of mine. However, more effectively utilizing our current resources will absolutely be a priority

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

San Dieguito Union High – Trustee Area 2

Schneider, Leslie

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

It’s time to open schools for safe in-person learning. This supports the emotional well-being and academic excellence of our kids. As the only candidate in Area 2 with kids enrolled, I am personally invested in our schools. I am a proven school board member and stand for transparent decision making, fiscal accountability & academic excellence.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✓ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Rent out district facilities and fields when not in use by students and staff, pension reform, evaluating contracts to make sure they are the most competitive available.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

Keeping SDUHSD schools closed with no plan presented to parents and staff to reopen, even while many other San Diego schools are opening. I would have surveyed parents and staff extensively and spent summer months preparing and communicating a multi-tiered plan with the goal to return to campus & provide a 2nd distance learning option.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Resources for Parents/Families
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

While all these items are critical to providing an excellent learning environment for kids, without transparency and accountability we can’t properly fulfill these obligations. Schools are tasked with preparing youth to be self-sufficient, productive and confident members of our community, which is why delivering hard and soft “skills” are a must.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

We are fortunate that our community has a tremendous amount of resources available to families and kids already. Additionally, parents in SDUHSD are heavily engaged with kids and schools. I would, however, like to see more two-way communication between district staff and parents.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Young, Katrina

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

A PTA President, LCC Board Member, CASA and board chairman of a national philanthropy, I have 20 years of advocacy experience — everything from championing academic programs inside the classrooms to protecting children’s health in Washington, D.C. As a mother of three recent SDUHSD graduates, I care about our students and believe in our school.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

I believe in addressing issues at their source. With 20 years of advocacy experience, I hope to use my voice to defend our children’s education at the state level. On a more local level, we have many generous businesses that support valuable academic programs. I would like to expand that partnership, ideally benefitting both students and our community.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

The board decision I most disagree with was not honoring the student-run E4E group’s request to express their concerns about equality at the last few meetings. While undoubtedly busy with challenges presented by COVID-19, I believe school districts should always find room to listen to students’ voices and mirror the events of our community.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Resources for Parents/Families
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Our teens are struggling with anxiety and depression. Knowing that issue has undoubtedly been compounded by COVID-19 restrictions, it’s imperative that we address mental health at its root cause and take swift action to solve it together. After all, our children cannot meet their full potential unless they are fully emotionally supported.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

All options presented are important as they are all integral to schools. Yet especially when faced with tough choices, I will always prioritize students. Well-versed in the culture of our community I ranked [Improved / Expanded Facilities & Classroom Equipment] last, as I believe those can be best mitigated with our excellent classroom instruction and amazing parent support.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

San Dieguito Union High – Trustee Area 4

Allman, Michael

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I am an accomplished board member, businessman, and 22-year district resident. I strongly support public education, especially STEM. As a former CFO and auditor, I will ensure taxpayer money is spent wisely. The board needs independence, transparency and better governance and communication. I’ll prioritize safely reopening our schools.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Over $5 million dollars of government COVID grant funds were recently spent by our district on Chromebook computers that parents didn’t ask for or want. This gross misuse of public funds without any accountability must stop. As a former CFO and auditor of a Fortune 500 company, I know how to identify and reduce inefficiencies and wasteful spending.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

On April 3, the Board adopted a policy of credit/no credit grading. Parents and students were outraged that their opinions were not sought. After a grassroots protest, the board was forced to rescind the policy and offer an option of grades or pass/fail. This is one example of a board that is completely unresponsive to their parent community.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Class Size/Hiring More Teachers; Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

I have been in discussions with almost 1000 parents over the last few weeks. The phrase that repeats is that “my child is CRUSHED by their daily isolation.” Distance learning is failing our children and the administration and board are avoiding the tough decisions. We need a plan with options and choices to get our children safely back in school.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Right now, our priority has to be on academic basics. Our children are not thriving with distance learning. Talk to any parent who is witnessing the weaknesses in technology, curriculum, and social interaction. When we get back on campus, we can focus on lower curriculum priorities, but now we have to make sure our kids don’t fall further behind.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Lea Smith, Jane

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I’m running for trustee because I care about the future of our schools and want to ensure a successful future for all our students. As a current district parent, former special education teacher, and small business owner, I will bring a well-rounded perspective to the position along with a commitment to listen to all voices in our community.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Our budget reserves should be much stronger to support cash flow and potential economic uncertainties. I would work with the board to prioritize rebuilding our reserves to a healthy level by controlling new spending, identifying inefficiencies, and exploring ways to offset new spending priorities with decreased expenditures elsewhere.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

I believe our Board’s decision to amend the distance learning grading policy in Spring of 2020, with less than one month of school remaining, could have been avoided. Although I understand that the situation was changing rapidly, I believe it would have been better to build in time to seek community input before making the initial decision.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

To address transparency, I will prioritize communication. I propose setting expectations to intentionally gather input across multiple perspectives and to effectively communicate the rationale for decisions. Options include targeted forums, more formalized use of committee input, timelines that allow for community review and regular board updates.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

I will always prioritize investments that directly impact student learning and social-emotional wellness. Our community has recently invested in new construction and facilities updates throughout our district. At this time, our focus should be on student programs and rebuilding budget reserves rather than on new capital expenditures.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✓ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

San Marcos Unified – Trustee Area A

Lai, Joseph

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

As a Carlsbad resident, parent of 2 children currently in the SMUSD, active volunteer within our schools, and someone who has gone through the San Diego County school system (K-12), I am familiar with the needs of students/families within the community. I am running to help improve the gaps, learning experience and disparity in our district.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✓ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

My first priority is to do a thorough review of the current budget and tighten expenses. Other areas we need to look at are alternative learning models that may not require as much expense such as brick and mortar. I also believe additional partnership in the private sector could help expand our curriculum and overall capabilities while saving.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

During the July 21, 2020, Meeting, agenda item 8.2, proposal for re-opening schools, I disagreed with the board’s majority not to approve a reopening plan at the time. I would have continued discussion and suggested modifications to the presented plan until we ultimately got a plan passed that day to have the district move forward with reopening.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

I would like to work with our technology partners to continually upgrade equipment yearly to keep our district ahead of the curve, partner with the private sector to have trades and different careers as part of regular curriculum in secondary school, and have the board required to hold quarterly meetings with their constituents.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

All issues mentioned are a priority. Lowest does not mean it is not an important issue that I would still like to work on during my time on the board.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Leon, LeeAnne

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I feel we need a change to the current practices in the district. During my 8 years as a parent in the district I have been a room parent, treasurer for the PTO for 4 years, fundraising committee chair, a member of the LCAP committee and various other activities in the classroom.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

We are going to need to be creative and look outside the district and maybe even the state. We have some of the largest tech companies in North County and they may be a possible source of support. We need to keep the impact to the classroom minimal. Review and reallocate the current budget.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

I disagree with the board’s decision to allow Dr. Carmen Garcia to remain in the position of Superintendent after there was considerable evidence that she was not complying with the directive of the board or acting in the best interest of the district.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Discipline/School Climate;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: None Indicated
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

I feel there needs to be greater emphasis on a partnership between the district, city and developers. We need to work together to require the developers and the City of San Marcos to assist in the addition of new school sites to relieve some of the burden on the existing school sites.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

I feel that as board members we do not have a significant amount of oversight on the transparency or accountability of the government. I put this lower because my main focus in the classroom experience.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Ross, Jay

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

Our family moved to Carlsbad over 14 years ago and our daughters currently attend San Marcos High School. I’ve seen how incredibly committed our teachers are which is why my endorsement from the San Marcos Educators Association meant so much to me. It validated that my ideas and approaches were centered on the best interests of our children.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

(1) Average turnover costs for one teacher are over $20,000. Investing in retaining teachers is a huge win-win! (2) Our district has over 21,000 students. Parents want to support businesses that support their children. We should explore ways to trade corporate donations with district-wide advertising. (3) Renegotiate evergreen contracts for overhead costs

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

Failing to mandate teacher involvement in the Q3, 2020 planning & modeling for school reopening. Besides obvious contributions teachers would have brought to the process, the lack of educator involvement was destined negatively to impact productive negotiations between the teachers’ union & SMUSD. Better collaboration often means earlier collaboration!

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Class Size/Hiring More Teachers; Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Discipline/School Climate

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Project STAR & other studies support the benefits of smaller class sizes. I’d prioritize reductions in the K-5 grades. I support term-based instructional models as this reduces class size. I’d explore in-class self-based learning tools to provide initial teachings to children so teachers may then reinforce those concepts in small group instruction.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

As a parent of children who attended LCM, SEMS, and now attend San Marcos High School, it is my belief that discipline & school climate has been handled very well at the school level. Effective systems appear to be in place for corrective action and funding does not appear to be as much of a priority here.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Ulloa, Carlos

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

With three decades of experience in education, I look forward to serving the families within the SMUSD boundaries of Rancho Carrillo and La Costa Meadows Elementary. As a board member, I bring classroom teaching experience, site and district leadership, and also state education policy expertise to the San Marcos Governing Board of Trustees.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Being fiscally solvent is the responsibility of the board. I would seek input from the community to make cuts where necessary.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

I believe the board failed to hire a superintendent that was a match for SMUSD. The superintendent failed to unite the community and did not inspire trust with teachers and families in the community. This decision was costly and also did not build faith in the current board.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Discipline/School Climate; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

As we approach election day, I look forward to sharing my passion for quality schools and my commitment to the students and families of our local community. My number one priority is hiring a superintendent that has experience, inspires trust and focus on raising morale in the community and with school staff.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Maintaining safe schools is important as we look at reopening campuses. My lowest priority is rebuilding any further campuses unless the community supports the passing of a new bond measure.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

San Marcos Unified – Trustee Area B

Ahmad, Sarah

No Response / Declined

Epperson, Brian

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

Between my wife and I, we have 7 wonderful children. Each has unique gifts, talents and passions; just as yours do. This inspires me to ensure San Marcos schools offer personalized support for each student. I am a local business owner and educator. I have taught, currently serve on District Advisory Councils, and a District Brain Trust.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✓ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

First, it is focusing on the question: what do our students need? Fiscal responsibility, revenue generation, improved communication with community members, increased career pathways that introduce students to opportunities, social and emotional health support, and addressing inequality that exists in learning opportunities and resources.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

Mine would specifically be a lack of a decision rather than a decision made. This would be during several 2020 board meetings when a collective lack of action put SMUSD further behind in terms of having concise plans for distance, hybrid and in-person learning models that could have been shared earlier with all stakeholders, and approved earlier.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Fiscal management is a high priority due to the impact of increased expenses from COVID, further reduced funding from the state, and likely reduced funding due to lost students. SMUSD should review contracts with vendors for cost reductions, increase communication and engagement to increase enrollment, and address facility rental revenue issues.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

I listed [the questionnaire’s category of] ‘Improved / Expanded Facilities & Classroom Equipment’ as the lowest priority, as we have higher demands on personnel and finances currently to support our hybrid learning models and support students in other higher priority areas. I do support the appropriate review and long term planning for facility improvements.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Lindamood, Pam

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I have served the community as a school board member for the past 8 years.  I have helped to grow our school capacity, modernized several schools, helped to develop and implement a Visual and Performing Arts Plan, and provided a well-rounded education for all students. Focus now turns to finding new leadership and promoting financial stability.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

My top priority is seeking fair and full funding of public education. California lags behind most other states in educational funding while being one of the most economically successful states. We are mandated to provide service without full funding, jeopardizing solvency.  We must prioritize the education of our children.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

In 2017, I supported a national search to find the district a highly qualified superintendent candidate. My colleagues voted to suspend that search and promoted from within a director with no superintendent experience instead. I believed then, as now, that a thorough search is warranted when hiring for such an important position.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”; Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Resources for Parents/Families
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Discipline/School Climate; Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Continuing to close achievement gaps will always be a priority for equitable public education. Understanding that ‘equitable’ is not ‘equal,’ we must be prepared to offer what individual students need to succeed. Community success depends on all students reaching their full potential.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

While I believe that school climate and discipline are important, this can be most successfully handled as a site-based issue.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

San Marcos Unified – Trustee Area D

Chamberlin, Jaime

No Response / Declined

Graham, Victor

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I have lived in the San Marcos Unified School District since the early 1980s and my two children have attended schools in from Kindergarten through high school, and later they went on to graduate from USC and Cornell. I am currently the vice president of the board, have an engineering degree and want to use my Hewlett-Packard business experience.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✓ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✓ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

I would like to see more educational decisions made at the local level, rather than at the state and federal level. I believe in balanced budgets and I encourage competition that enables taxpayers to receive the highest quality service at the lowest price. I support private partnerships with schools and earn-as-you learn vocational training.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

The state mandates that the district have a 3% reserve, but I would like to see it increased to enable us to make better decisions. Without a higher reserve, we are forced to layoff teachers because they account for roughly 90% of our budget.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: None Indicated
  • BELOW AVERAGE: None Indicated
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

I plan to continue to provide the best education for our students that our budget will allow. Because our revenue is determined by the state, I want to partner with the private sector that offers vocational training and other computer programming courses that the district does not offer, but which are very beneficial for our students.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

In my opinion, all the areas above are important. It is the responsibility of the board to balance these high needs and determine ways to meet students needs without demanding more taxes from already heavily taxed citizens.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Solana Beach Elementary – At Large

King, Dana

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

Appointed to Board of Education (BOE) Feb ‘20 to fill vacant term. Twenty-year resident with wife Nancy; twins Ian and Sofia thrived in SBSD. Active school/community volunteer running to continue my advocacy of public education: representing students, parents, teachers and citizens as we deal with the pandemic and other critical issues facing us.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

The board and superintendent have a cogent financial plan to derive budgets within annual district funding. SBSD enjoys strong community funding of enrichment and extracurricular programs. Today’s challenge is pandemic expense, partially funded from adequate reserves. The board is unanimous in its commitment to replenish reserves as soon as practicable.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

As a current board member in a pandemic and prior board observer, I have concurred with the board’s decisions over the last few years. This is due to a healthy district decision-making process, seeking all viewpoints to define pros and cons in each course of action. With difficult decisions, we have weighed every consideration before selecting a course

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Resources for Parents/Families;  Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Athletics/Extracurriculars

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Maintain strong directional and funding support for the district’s already-in-place Social Emotional Learning Program. This is a cornerstone program of the district superintendent and board that began in the 2019-20 school year and we expanded in this year’s budget. It is a particularly crucial link to students and families in the current pandemic.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

SBSD serves a community with extensive parent/volunteer-directed athletics and extracurriculars not affiliated with the district. Aside from strong educational commitment to grade-level appropriate PE and STREAM in our curriculum, SBSD plays a supporting role in athletics/extracurriculars, allowing focus on other pressing educational initiatives.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Rosen, Larry

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I am a retired psychology professor/scientist with a background in child development, parenting and the impact of technology. With this skillset I will help the board make plans for future technologies. We will not be done with in-person vs. at-home schooling and I will help with these decisions by carefully reviewing the peer-reviewed science.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

With all the upset and confusion about dealing with schooling during the COVID-19 crisis, I feel that it is important to consider students, parents and teachers/staff in making these decisions. Money should be allocated to protect all three groups and science should drive decisions

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

I am new to the district but I am concerned about the board’s decision to test students so infrequently. Taking temperatures is not enough as a temperature is not a symptom of all those infected with COVID-19. More careful planning should go into a testing program based on what other schools and countries have learned.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Resources for Parents/Families
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”; Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

My highest priority would be to provide resources for parents and families on how to deal with many issues confronting them that involve technology. I regularly speak to parents and teachers about these issues including sleep, multitasking, video-gaming and more.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

I think that others who have served on the board already have a grasp of fiscal management and quite honestly this is not really in my skillset. I would defer to them while learning more about fiscal management

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Union, Julie

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I am a dedicated trustee, currently serving as board president. I have an extensive background as a businesswoman, substitute teacher, PTA President, caring community volunteer and parent of three girls who attended SBSD schools. I am running for re-election to support the district’s mission of providing a high quality education for every child.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

My top priorities are to bring spending in line with revenues, strengthen existing exemplary programs and services, maintain a healthy reserve to weather economic uncertainties and storms like COVID-19, and continue clear and transparent budget communication as demonstrated by our district’s “Budget Roadshow” forums.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

The school board has made important decisions on the reconstruction and modernization of school facilities, setting direction on social-emotional learning and pursuing many exciting new initiatives. I agree with the decisions made over the last few years and appreciate the robust and respectful dialogue that takes place during meetings.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Athletics/Extracurriculars

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

My business priority is Fiscal Management, my educational priority is closing “Achievement Gaps”, and my social-emotional priority is the mental health of our students. The best way to work on priorities is in a collaborative way with district leadership, teachers, staff, parents, and community partnerships, along with valuable student voice.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Athletics & Extracurriculars is my lowest priority issue because it is flexible and can be done after school. I support playing sports, learning a musical instrument, and volunteering in the community as a great way for students to learn important life skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, and making a positive impact in society.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Vista Unified – Trustee Area 1

Simpson, Matthew

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I am a patriot. I love my country and her people, and I want to see us live and live well. I am running for the VUSD Board of Education because I disagree with decisions the current school board has made and that I can do the job better than the current board.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✓ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

More than 90% of the VUSD budget is payroll and benefits. So, my first idea is to stop the pay increases for teachers and administrators, which will save a lot of money over the long run. I know that is an unpopular answer while life in CA gets more expensive, but it’s the last thing we can do before letting people go.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

I disagree most with the dismissal of the School Resource Officers. They were implemented because recent history has made it abundantly clear that school shooters are a threat to our childrens’ safety. The board cut them because they were expensive. I would have found a way to hire more of them for a better price and cut something else instead.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Discipline/School Climate;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Resources for Parents/Families
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Government Transparency/Accountability

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Well, I already spent a section talking about budgeting. I’ll only add that fiscal responsibility is paramount for any organization, because if we spend resources poorly, or run out of them, the whole enterprise will not succeed and will collapse.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

I don’t say that transparency or accountability is not important, but it is not a district priority because parents generally have access to their children and the teachers. And I can’t speak for anyone else, but I intend to be accessible, direct and honest with anyone who has a question or concern with the way things run in Vista Unified Schools.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Smithfield, Rosemary

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

If re-elected I will continue to advocate for a transparent budget process while keeping students in the front of all decisions. I will continue to promote high student achievement with robust learning opportunities in safe learning environments. I will continue to listen to all stakeholders.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

The district must balance the budget but keep what is best for the students. While cutting over $21 million from our budget the student was always the driving force. Programs should be reviewed, new revenues be spent with stakeholder input, reconstruction of systems and  joining forces with all outside partnerships that will benefit our students.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

My biggest disagreement was when the district purchased an incomplete Language Arts program for millions of dollars. It did not address the needs of all students which resulted in lagging reading scores. I insisted the district invest in our elementary students and finally a compete program was purchased last year.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Government Transparency/Accountability
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Mental health and achievement gaps should be automatic. An effective social/emotional network for students and staff is a must. I will continue to assure funding for social workers, counselors and psychologists along with professional development for all staff. Many times, the schools are the first line of defense for a child.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

I believe extracurricular activities and government transparency are important however the job is to educate.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Vista Unified – Trustee Area 4

Faust, William

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I am a 25 year veteran of the Vista Unified School District. I am running to help students achieve their educational goals and to help our district provide adequate schools for which they can [sic]. I want to make change in the district and with my financial background I believe I can with the help of the board of trustees.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

My number one priority is to look at every avenue in the district budget to make sure that we are using funds to help all students. I believe we should contact every local and national politician to make the case that education needs more funding for student achievement. If there are assets at the local level we should explore every one of them.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

The decision to place a PLA agreement with Proposition LL our school bond. This agreement will not allow Vista Unified to be able to complete all phases of the $247 Million Bond that the Voters of Vista agreed to pass. The PLA agreement was not in the publications provided to the community and when meetings were held to promote Prop LL this issue was not a part of the language articulated. I would not have pursued this agreement.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Discipline/School Climate;  Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Resources for Parents/Families

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Work as hard as possible to explore options for students to engage in substance abuse discussions/curriculum as well as social and emotional issues, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to give students every opportunity to succeed in learning and to engage in world issues every chance we as a district get.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Vista Unified does not help engage our parents and community in what students need to succeed. This needs to change. We need to have better communication with parents and community members so that we can give students the tools to succeed in educational achievement.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Vargas, Cipriano

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I am a proud graduate of our Vista Schools and first generation college graduate. After graduating from CSUSM, I would go on to teach Kindergarten in Texas and part of the reason [sic] I decided to run for school board in 2016. Now in 2020, I am running for re-election to continue to serve my community and help move VUSD forward in this moment of crisis.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Participatory budget process that includes community and stakeholders. Seek state and federal grants that align with programs such as Career Technical Education pathways, in addition to creating partnerships with industry leaders and unions. I will be pushing for CSBA Full and Fair Funding (see www.fullandfairfunding.org/).

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

N/A

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Ensure Funding goes to these areas, board vote on budgets that move these forward.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Not much athletics & extracurriculars during this pandemic

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Vista Unified – Trustee Area 5

Kelly, Julie

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I’m a business owner, PTA leader and district committee co-chair. My children have attended Vista’s public schools for 14 years. I believe in the potential of all students and I want Vista’s schools to be the most innovative in California, where excellence is fostered and we collaboratively face all challenges, including COVID-19 and underfunding.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✓ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✓ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✓ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

California is 47th in per pupil spending. We face a dire funding crisis without simple solutions. I will advocate for more state and federal funds and seek out partnerships with city and county entities to share resources to benefit our schools and wider community. It will always be my priority to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

In 2017, when hiring a new superintendent, our board spent district funds on a recruiting firm. The hiring process, lack of vetting and ensuing disruption was costly, disastrous and avoidable. I would have started by collaborating with district leadership and staff to identify a leader to promote from within, save money and ensure continuity.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students; Resources for Parents/Families;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”; Fiscal Management/Discipline;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Discipline/School Climate; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

I will focus district attention and resources to close achievement gaps, provide support and raise the bar for all students. A recent equity study shows that VUSD has consistently lower outcomes for all students compared to similar districts. Public education is a right; we must ensure a quality education for every student.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

I place a high priority on facilities; Vista passed a $247 million bond in 2018 and is completing dozens of severely backlogged projects to address school infrastructure and upgrades. Student enrichment through athletics and extracurriculars is important and can be offered through creative collaborations without impacting the budget significantly.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✓ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Murphy, John

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I will ensure a safe environment for our children to return to in-class learning, make available resources teachers and staff need and maintain safe campuses for all. I vow to listen and act on feedback from parents and taxpayers. I am especially interested in ideas from students, teachers and staff. I will bring much-needed balance to the board.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✓ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✘ Strongly agree

✓ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✘ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✓ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Sell or lease property owned [but] not used. Review budget for nonessential spending. Negotiate terms on purchased items and services. Ensure the benefits offered to all employees match what the marketplace is offering. Competitive contracts on construction projects. Reduce or eliminate social services offered. Lease property in the offseason, at night.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

VUSD allowing confidential medical release for students to get medical treatment without the consent of parents. The board mandating Project Labor Agreements for on-campus construction. Mandating pass/fail grading for last year in spite of very vocal opposition from parents and students.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment;  Discipline/School Climate;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Class Size/Hiring More Teachers; Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Resources for Parents/Families;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: None Indicated

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Right now, fiscal management is key. Overspending to budget in an environment of declining student rolls has put us in a bind. Our new reality with COVID-19 will require more spending. We must save where we can and utilize money from the state and federal governments to provide a safe in-class learning environment for our students.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

Student population has been declining since 2001. We need to meet standards where student to teacher ratios are concerned. I would look to share resources where it makes sense to do or find ways to reduce the workload on teachers and staff.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✓ Yes

✘ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

Noesgaard, Mads

Tell us about yourself and why you’re running:

I am a 47-year-old married father of three children who all attend VUSD schools, with years of classroom volunteer experience and a former PTA President. The current board is too ideological and misled the public on Project Labor Agreements, abolished School Resource Officers and forced all students to take credit/no credit instead of their grades.

How strongly do you agree?: ‘Elected officials should discern & follow popular will, even if they & staff don’t agree with popular sentiment.’

✓ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

How strongly do you agree?: ‘The school district should seek to add more charter schools to its portfolio of schools.’

✓ Strongly agree

✘ Somewhat agree

✘ Somewhat disagree

✘ Strongly disagree

Which of these statements about pre-Kindergarten (ages 0-5) do you most agree with?

✘ School districts should prioritize local public resources to ensure every child has access to a high quality pre-K program.

✓ School districts should focus mostly on K-12, leaving additional pre-K public funding or legislation to the state and federal governments.

✘ Public resources should focus on K-12. Pre-K should be viewed as optional and left primarily to the private and non-public sectors.

What are your top priorities/best ideas to improve district finances?

Spending on special education has almost quadrupled in just 10 years to 1/6 of the budget. That cannot continue. While I greatly admire parents of special education children, their passion and vocal advocacy should not deter a school district from looking dispassionately at how resources are used. The district also needs to stand up to lawsuits.

What School Board decision in the last few years did you disagree with most, and how would you have addressed the issue differently?

Using COVID-19 as an excuse, the current board forced all students to take credit/no credit. Straight-A students and failing D students were given the same “credit”. This is part of the current board’s obsession with equity, where students perceived as marginalized are showered with resources and students perceived as privileged are neglected.

Assign RELATIVE priorities to the following issue areas, in terms of where you intend to budget finite $, time, etc.

  • HIGHEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Fiscal Management/Discipline
  • ABOVE AVERAGE: Athletics/Extracurriculars; Discipline/School Climate;  Job/Personal Finance/Other “Life Skills”;  Government Transparency/Accountability
  • BELOW AVERAGE: Improved/Expanded Facilities/Classroom Equipment; Class Size/Hiring More Teachers;  Mental Health/”Social-Emotional” Resources for Students;  Targeted Interventions for “Achievement Gaps”
  • LOWEST RELATIVE PRIORITY: Resources for Parents/Families

For your highest priority issue above, sum up what you propose to do about it.

Currently VUSD is just a hair above the 3% cash balance on-hand required by law. That makes every drop in revenue and every unexpected expense a crisis. That is no way to run a family, let alone a school district. Building a rainy-day fund will allow us more time to evaluate options for reductions when something unexpected happens.

For your lowest priority issue above, sum up why you think it’s lowest.

We need to refocus on being a school district. Our purpose is education, not social work. It is not our job to ensure the well-being of families in our district, it’s our job to teach their children to read and write, teach them math and science and life skills to be successful adults. That is at-risk children’s ticket out of bad circumstances.

Have you filed any Forms 460 disclosing campaign contributions?

✘ Yes

✓ No, because I have NOT met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

✘ No, although I HAVE met the $2,000 threshold, including self-contributions

1 comment

KC April 8, 2021 at 10:55 am

I just saw this today and I, like many other parents I’ve spoken to, wished they had done more research and put more into into learning more about school board candidates last November. I’ve shared this in multiple groups and have received lots of appreciation for the source and will look for it next time. Please continue to do this each election cycle. This seems to be the only one-stop resource to learn candidate views.

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