OCEANSIDE — Voters will decide on two school board seats as well as a $160 million bond measure for the school district by November.
Two seats are set to expire on the Oceanside Unified School Board this year and both incumbents, Eleanor Evans and Mike Blessing are running once again.
Evans, who represents District 2 on the school board, is running unopposed while newcomers Susana Arvizu and Todd Maddison are challenging Blessing for his District 5 seat.
Blessing was first elected to the school board in 2008 and then re-elected in 2016. He also served as deputy city manager for the city before retiring in 2009.
“I believe I am uniquely qualified to serve on the board based upon my 40 years of public policy and planning experience,” Blessing said via email. “I know the City and its residents and I understand that open and responsive institutions are prized in this City.”
Part of Blessing’s work on the board has been focusing on making improvements to the district’s buildings. He told The Coast News he was proud of the school board’s work to modernize and renovate six elementary schools, modernize Lincoln Middle School, renovate the athletic and stadium facilities at Oceanside and El Camino High Schools, and to construct the new Career Technical Education and music buildings and the Performing Arts Center at Oceanside High.
Todd Maddison has been an “involved parent” in the district for years.
He was the first parent representative on the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan Committee, the co-leader of the district’s Parent Advisory Committee, a member of the El Camino High Site Council and a founding member of the Oside Parents 4 Kids parent-teacher organization group.
Additionally, Maddison participated in the state’s “LCFF Test Kitchen” project to help redesign the school district budget process in an effort to be more transparent to parents.
According to Maddison, Oceanside is “in desperate need” of financial responsibility and proper budget management.
“They’ve cut, cut, cut from programs and services for our kids, while at the same time giving District employees raises that cost millions of dollars,” Maddison said.
According to her profile on votersedge.org, candidate Susana Arvizu has three priorities: “efficient” education; inclusive education regardless of cultural background or learning disabilities; and adapted education to help children succeed in changing times relating to technology, environment and diversity.
Arvizu believes her exposure to diverse cultures throughout her lifetime, having lived in various parts of California and in Mexico, as well as her experience as the parent of a special education student, will bring a different perspective to the board.
Arvizu did not respond to The Coast News’ request for comments.
Voters will also decide on Measure W, a $160 million bond measure to finance facilities and equipment for science, technology, engineering, arts and math instruction, also referred to as STEAM.
The Coast News previously reported that property owners would pay an estimated total of $272 million through an additional property tax of $30 per $100,000 of assessed home value over three decades.
One of the items on the bond project list includes health and safety improvements relating to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as modifications relating to natural disasters and installation of interior and exterior windows, doors, security systems, automatic door locking systems, alarm systems and more.
The new bond measure would follow the $195 million worth of renovations and modernization efforts from Proposition H, a bond measure that was passed in 2008.
Blessing told The Coast News he supports Measure W “to continue building success for our schools and our students.”