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San Dieguito candidate: David Carattini, of Encinitas, is running in Trustee Area 1.
David Carattini, of Encinitas, is running in Trustee Area 1 with the an endorsement from the San Diego County Republican Party. Stock photo
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GOP-backed candidate enters San Dieguito race after Muir withdrawal

ENCINITAS — A new candidate has made an eleventh-hour entry into the San Dieguito Union High School District’s Trustee Area 1 race after the sudden withdrawal of incumbent Trustee Maureen “Mo” Muir and subsequent recruitment efforts by local Republicans.

With board conservative stronghold Muir announcing her withdrawal just days before the filing period deadline citing family obligations, it looked for a moment like former Encinitas Union School District trustee and Democrat Rimga Viskanta may end up being the sole candidate in the high-profile race.

However, local businessman, baseball coach and district parent David Carattini pulled papers just two days before the final filing deadline on Aug. 17, and is now officially qualified as a candidate. Carattini said he had entertained the idea of running for the board for some years, but decided to make it a reality after hearing about Muir’s withdrawal.

San Dieguito candidate: David Carattini, of Encinitas, is running in Trustee Area 1.
David Carattini of Encinitas is running in Trustee Area 1. Courtesy photo

“It was good timing to actually enter into this election. This is something I’ve wanted to do, and education has always been something that I’m very passionate about,” said Carattini, a former Costco executive and longtime little league coach.

While school board positions are defined as non-partisan, politics have undoubtedly spilled into the San Dieguito board room and this upcoming election.

The five-person San Dieguito school board has been short one trustee since May, leaving Muir and fellow conservative Trustee Michael Allman frequently voting in unison opposite Democrat board members Julie Bronstein and Katrina Young, causing many motions to fail under a 2-2 vote.

Muir’s lack of endorsement from the San Diego County Republican Party was also speculated to be a driving reason for her withdrawal. Allman called for local Republicans to file for candidacy after she dropped out, sending out thousands of text messages stating that no Republican was running and that he needed “an ally to fight for parents and students.”

“Thank goodness we found Mr. Carattini, a well-respected businessman, athletic coach, and parent who understands the importance of putting parent and student interests first,” Allman told The Coast News. “A lot will be riding on November’s election. Will [we] go back to a Board controlled by special interests, or will we have independent Trustees who put parent and student interests first? Parents know what is at stake, and will support Mr. Carattini.”

The San Diego County GOP has also endorsed Carattini as a candidate on its website, despite him never having run for political office. Carattini, however, made it clear that he is not running as a Republican candidate, does not pay attention to endorsements, and wants to focus on bringing cohesion to the board and prioritizing students over politics.

“I think that there’s not a place for politics in this particular position, and they should not play that sort of role in this particular position,” Carattini said. “The bottom line is, what’s most important is finding common ground and finding a way to communicate, understand and respect differences and look for positive solutions, which are gonna be to the benefit of the teachers and the students. There’s no one that’s going to influence me. I’m my own person and I’m gonna do the right thing.”

As for Viskanta, she said this new competitor will not alter her course, adding that she would be curious to hear Carattini’s reasons for entering so close to the deadline.

“His entry into the race won’t change my focus, which is to get the district back on track of good governance practices, celebrating our school sites’ amazing administrators and students, and trying to build unity and cohesion around what we all care about, which is the students,” she said.

2 comments

MSchmidt7 August 27, 2022 at 2:16 pm

This is the understatement of the century “While school board positions are defined as non-partisan, politics have undoubtedly spilled into the San Dieguito board room and this upcoming election.” Previously, the public was not enlisted to “fight” on behalf of “sides” in our shared community interest of the best education for our children and issues were clearly stated, with an understanding of where a public school district must comply (laws, liability, etc.) and why.

Due to partisan politics (e.g. arguing about defying things like public health orders and state and federal laws, CVRA practices, and parsing “self-authored” documents, policies and resolutions instead of adopting vetted legal and CSBA guidance), this board has continually wasted taxpayer time and money and sowed division in our community.

Instead of dollars going to students, classrooms and facilities, ~ 1 million dollars (between paid out salaries to 2 problematic superintendents & resignations/appointments/elections brought on by their dysfunction and ongoing legal fees for poor choices) has disappeared.

The candidates selected by this board for political reasons, even though their past ineffectiveness & unsuitability was clearly known, and their continued practices of ignoring sound advice from legal and staff shows they do not intend to uphold their sworn oaths or to maintain a non-partisan focus on what is best for schools.

The dialogue heading into this election shows that they have learned nothing and intend to continue to do the same, unfortunately. Resident taxpayers money is not available for its stated purpose – direct student services, instructional materials and facilities.

I hope every community member will absolutely advocate for a return to non-partisan where the focus is on efficient and effective governance and the fiduciary role instead of political agendas and debates that are harming our community.

JohnEldon August 21, 2022 at 5:43 am

Repeat 10 times after me, until you understand this: “This is a nonpartisan election.”

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