Press Banner Endorsement: Time to shake up the school board
by Press Banner
Oct 23, 2008 | 396 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print

It’s amazing to us — and not in a good way — that Scotts Valley Unified School District is at the point where we must recommend the election of three new trustees.

Yet the current board majority’s refusal to pay attention when parents, teachers and other residents speak out leaves us little choice. The stunning failure of the Measure Q school bond spoke volumes about how out of touch our school leaders are.

Moreover, when the teachers’ Scotts Valley Education Association and board member Jondi Gumz endorse challengers over incumbents Sue Roth and Joe Espinola, a wholesale change is obviously in order.

That’s why we recommend the election of Don Dietrich, Larry Beaman and Mike Shulman to the open seats Nov. 4.

While Dietrich and Beaman also are favored by the teachers and Gumz, those endorsements held no sway in the deliberations of our Editorial Board. Every challenger, and even Espinola, has campaigned on the need for change.

We like Dietrich because he is a union executive familiar with public-agency employees, and that expertise would serve the school board well in future contract negotiations with the district’s beleaguered teachers.

Beaman has been extraordinarily vociferous in his calls for respect and support for the teachers, what he calls “a commonsense proposal” to build a new middle school and leadership that is accountable to the taxpayers. Those points constitute what should be the board’s Holy Trinity.

We envision them aligning with Gumz, elected two years ago on a reform platform but recently a lone voice drowned out by the board majority, to perform a needed turnaround.For the third open seat, we see Shulman as a moderating influence. He has experience in public office, and his calls for “careful change” indicate he would encourage the boat to rock, but keep it from capsizing.

At the same time we recommend the election of these three, we acknowledge the incumbents for serving the community in ways they thought best — and for not even token remuneration.

In addition, we hope to see all the candidates continue to be involved in school affairs, at both the individual school level and by giving the board a piece of their minds when necessary.

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