Election Day is Saturday May 9th. Polls close at 7:00, then shortly thereafter, two candidates will start preparing to serve on the board and the other five will fade back. I am asking you to vote for me, because my varied experience makes me the most qualified to serve and I have expressed the most specific vision to get things accomplished.
Experience with the struggling — I am one of only two candidates who grew up here in San Marcos, and my wife did as well. We attended schools that others have merely visited, and we have four children from 4 to 16 so we have seen, firsthand and recently, every level of schools in the district. Through our church and nonprofit work, we have been a part of neighborhood engagement that worked and seen a lot that didn’t. Throughout the campaign, I have talked the most about the poverty 70% of our students are stuck in, and it is one of the driving forces behind my desire to serve on the Board and improve their future. For more, please read this.
Experience with the other 30% — The 30% of kids who pay full price for their lunch don’t get as much talk and attention in our district. As a result, we have seen many local families send their kids to private schools or neighboring public schools. This trend has a tendency to snowball – kids who perform better on standardized tests leave, their exit causes our scores to lag which causes new families to locate elsewhere and exacerbates our challenges. That is not the future that I want for our schools, but you don’t reverse the trend by cutting GT coordinators, cutting fine arts, or by spending more and more class time on test preparation. We need to listen to what parents have to say; we don’t need to lecture parents or tell them that what they have seen and experienced is not true. Parents who have choices won’t choose second best for their kids, so we have to make the tough choices necessary to make sure that San Marcos is the best choice for all kids.
Work Experience — I am one of only two candidates who currently work in the private sector and outside education, and I think varied professional experience is a big advantage to any board. When a board is predominantly folks from education and the public sector, there are many voices and experiences left out of the decision process. Plus, our board has been dysfunctional at times and too often in conflict, so my experience as an attorney dealing all day in conflict uniquely qualifies me to resolve a lot of the tension. Finally, I have seen bad things come from individual board members who delve too deeply into what should be within the province of campus heads and administrators — being a board member is not designed to be a full-time job, and it won’t be for me.
Specific and Accountable — I have openly and clearly stated that I do not support using fund balance for an administration building, that I oppose further use of waivers that allow elementary class sizes in excess of 22, that the district should cover the full cost of health insurance for its teachers, and that I will not support a budget that does not increase the percentage of money going into instruction from its current level of 58.3% to 60% in the first year and to even more in the years that follow. These are specific ways that I believe we can achieve my vision of putting all our focus and resources into the classroom where a great teacher inspires students. As a voter, you cannot hold the other candidates to their vague ideas, but you can hold me accountable to these specific promises.
In the past, voters have taken a chance on candidates who have ignored real challenges in favor of nice talk of perception issues, but such naivety has slowed down our schools improvement. We can’t take a chance this time; there are 7500 kids in our district right now and they cannot wait another three years for a board that is ready to make the tough choices required to give them the education they deserve. Vote for me tomorrow and let me go to work for you.