Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

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By Lisa Sloan

The School Board race could not be more important to voters this year.  Incumbents for years had the opportunity to work on improving literacy and math proficiency rates in our schools.  But what have they done?  Why did only Franklin Elementary School have the opportunity to magically transform student scores? Why were other schools left out?

At Franklin, by implementing low cost measures, such as encouraging parent engagement, Principal Casie Killgore achieved an improvement of over 33% proficiency in student scores.  Did the current board prioritize implementing such changes on other failing schools in the District?  No, they did not.  Did incumbents consider mitigating literacy and math failures?  No, they did not.  The current achievement scores of 50% are pathetic.

Now, incumbents distract away from the primary mandate of public schools which is to teach children how to read, write, calculate and think critically.  Incumbents choose to focus, not on our students, but rather on pet projects, such as green energy.  Please tell me, how does installing solar panels educate students?  The School Board should learn about solar panels.  Solar panels have a limited lifespan, and their disposal is very expensive.  Do incumbents realize that once removed, discarded solar panels are classified as hazardous waste?

During the Zoom Forum on September 17th, the candidates were given opportunity to discuss how they would improve the learning environment for students.  The incumbents focused on problems imposed by Covid 19, the resulting school shut-downs, and feedback from teachers who prefer to teach remotely.  That's short-term thinking.  Our children will be back into the school buildings when it is safe.  And the incumbents have missed the mark on improving learning.

In answer to the same question, challenger Elrawd MacLearn stated that he would engage the parents.  Many parents feel that their children need to return to in-person learning.  Mental Health experts suggest so.  Those who prefer can be given the option to "opt-out" of in-class learning and simply continue Zoom classes at home.  

The key difference between incumbents and two of the challengers  Elrawd MacLearn and Brian Campbell, is the desire to involve parents in their children's education.  Transparency and communication are the best way for students to succeed.  When students succeed, society benefits.  The future of Santa Barbara depends upon the education of our children.  

Currently, on the assignment to educate our students, incumbents have earned a big, fat 'F'.  It's well past time for a change on the School Board.  On November 3rd, vote the incumbents out!


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a-1600724275 Sep 21, 2020 02:37 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Excellent. This is not a good year for any school board incumbents. There is no reward for continued failure. Voters have very good alternatives this year. Things must change and change now.

ChillinGrillin Sep 21, 2020 02:51 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

I'm not going to defend the glaring lack of school board leadership but problems SBUSD is facing are not unique to this area or even to school districts nationally. We were witnessing a large-scale societal decay prior to the pandemic and although rockstars like Principal Kilgore can be lights through the increasing darkness, there will need to be a massive reinvestment and shifting in priorities for school curriculum to realign with the skill sets needed in the workforce. While "many parents" can "feel" like things should go back to normal, the vast majority value safety above all else and know that no young children can honestly be expected to follow social distancing and mask-wearing rules. Keep blaming solar panels or local leadership if it makes you feel better. But the problem is far more serious with more diverse causes than the school board.

PitMix Sep 21, 2020 03:07 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Puff piece for Elrawd and Brian. Franklin School had an improvement of 33%, but what was the absolute rating? CSR in 2016 was 5 out of 10. Franklin's principal Casie Kilgore is to be commended for her achievement, but it seems that a hard working charismatic principal can achieve great things before they move on to a higher salary doing something else. This happened at Harding and also at La Cumbre Jr High, where the principal literally gave her life to help her students. Very sorry that the School Board has become the gateway to local politics.

Byzantium Sep 21, 2020 03:40 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

School board has become a gateway to continued student failure .That is no longer acceptable.
Voters were smart to reject Laura Capps movement up the political ladder. But now voters reward Monqiue Limon for doing the exact same thing - leap frogging her school board failure into higher and higher office - token school board service to token assembly service and now to even more token state senate - all by riding lock step with the teacher union agenda. We need better than that. Because that is why nothing ever changes - the teacher union agenda is this state has failed us big time. Reject their undue influence in our political decision making.

ChillinGrillin Sep 21, 2020 05:37 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Lol Byzantium and uninformed people are quick to find a scapegoat that suits their preexisting political views. If it was up to troglodytes like him we would still have kids missing school to work 16 hour days in factories.

dukemunson Sep 21, 2020 08:18 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

It’s really not even a political issue... The school board has failed on pretty much every count... obviously! That they continue meeting to celebrate “robust online education” is actually pretty humorous...

bosco Sep 21, 2020 03:22 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

It's pretty simple. Each candidate should give a detailed explanation of their opinion on school reopening. Any Candidate that refuses or hesitates to open schools the minute they get approval from the PHD will not get my vote. This includes a waiver for elementary schools, and we have already seen how the incumbents feel about that.

letmego Sep 21, 2020 04:56 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Have you looked at the SBUnified website? They have their reopening plans listed. There are 3 options, based on when we hit the "red" zone, but full opening (all students) varies from Nov 2 at the earliest to Jan 19. Hybrid opening sooner than that.

Byzantium Sep 21, 2020 03:32 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

School board elections are always a fight between the teachers unions and independents. Keep that in mind when reading any follow-up comments about any candidate. Teacher union candidates, such as the crop incumbents will always get glowing praise but mainly from teacher union fans; and their challengers will get nothing but disgust in return. Do really do not want to continue the current teacher union recipe for continued failure to infect our schools? School boards are intended to be a buffer between the teachers unions and the state's K-12 mission; not an extension of the teacher union agenda. This election calls for reinstating independence of our local school board between the K-12 mission and the teachers unions. Because decades of teacher union candidates sitting on our local school boards is a record of failure for our students. We can no longer accept this. Good choices exist today - exercise that choice.

letmego Sep 21, 2020 05:08 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Do you have students at Franklin? Are you aware of what is involved in what Franklin did? It's not JUST parent involvement, it also includes "running the school like a business" and a LOT of money. Before you start slamming people for not "being like Franklin", understand that EVERY principal and school site council looks at successes like Franklin (and before them, Adams), and tries to adopt similar measures at their own schools.

However, recognize that the elephant in THIS particular room is money. Each school gets a budget. That's what they have to work with. They have to decide how to best use that budget to support all students, particularly the neediest. Lucky, or wealthy, schools, have vast $ from the parents and PTA to draw from. Some schools can manage to get grants.

Also recognize that the particular makeup of each school affects whether or not you can easily get "parent involvement". Every school wants parent involvement. Every principal has parent involvement as their goal. If you happen to be at a school where a large percentage of the students take the bus, it makes parent involvement more difficult. On site meetings are hard, there are no easy gathering places. Every school that I've been involved with has strove for parental involvement.

Finally, I have been keeping track of the CAASPP test scores for many of our elementary and secondary schools since the beginning of this test. With very few exceptions, our test scores are increasing. I have the data from every year, every grade, going back to the start. Year over year, test scores are up for a particular "class" (a particular class will see their scores go up from 3rd to 4th grade, both ELA and math). Raw test scores are also going up for a particular school's "grade", meaning the 5th grade math scores at school X in 2019 are higher than the 5th grade math scores from 2018.

They might not be increasing at the rate that everyone would just love to see, but they ARE increasing, across the board. You cannot just look at a single data point, you have to look at trends. Unfortunately, it's a BEAR to get this data because you basically have to download each data point individually. For one elementary school, that's 4 grades x 2 subjects = 8 data points per school per year.

a-1600788082 Sep 22, 2020 08:21 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Very interesting. Have the scores for Adelante been rising, also? I was surprised at how Capps praised it so yet does not send her son there. (To be fair, Adelante is not in her neighborhood.)

letmego Sep 22, 2020 02:52 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

I didn't have Adelante on my chart, so I went down the rabbit hole (35 minutes later...)
Their ELA scores have actually been declining, and math flat or increasing.

Byzantium Sep 21, 2020 05:16 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Schools should not be feeding students 2 meals a day 365 days a year. They should be teaching both the parents (adult ed) and the children (home ec) how to feed themselves - make their own breakfast and make their own bag lunches...at home. There is plenty of food support in this town for anyone who claims they need it - but they do have to cook and prepare it themelves. This is what parents do for their children. Not the state, to the point when schools close a school board's first thought is to continue their money-losing school feeding program. This concept of feeding one's own family and self got turned upside down under our past school board leadership. Teach how to do this cheaply and nutritiously, if it is not getting done at home. Just handing out expensively prepared food is ridiculous. That is the true mission of education - it is not creating daily government dependencies life's most essential basic tasks.

Basicinfo805 Sep 21, 2020 09:02 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

GT, didnt you read that their program's losing a ton of money daily and the board refused to make the hard call and do what was right months ago when schools shutdown? The board voted to keep food workers employed even though schools were closed. Couldn't handle making the tough call. I'm sure someone can throw you a reference because it's widely known, and someone who DOES have kids would be the type to take the stance Byz. did, beacause its their kids getting shafted.

Byzantium Sep 22, 2020 09:02 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

It is misinformation to claim school food service is "mainly run by volunteers". Noozhawk ran a lenghty article a few months ago about the huge financial drain and personnel mismanagement going on with SBUSD food service - my memory was a $25,000 loss per day -which seems outrageous but needs to be fact checked. One reason Matsuoka tendered his immediate resignation was after the SBUSD school board refused to do anything about either the gaping budget hole or the major personnel mismanagement of this program - it was all set out in great detail with nary a mention this was a "volunteer" operated program. Any food delivery program for large institutions also need to guard against inventory loss as well and apparently there was highly ineffectual oversight at every level .School board chose to punt and Matsuoka reasonably chose to resign. Stat.

RHS Sep 21, 2020 06:28 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

For the protagonist of this scree to not understand what children can learn from solar power alternatives shows what regressive genes look like. Your comments make me easily support the other side, whatever they espouse probably. Children need to be exposed to real world problems and current issues, not some fantasy about American Exceptionalism and Just Say No. Throwing your sabots into the machinery will not stop the inevitable. We need to change the course of our society and we start with the children.

a-1600739361 Sep 21, 2020 06:49 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Cassie Killgore is definitely an exception to the rule, but most principals are just politicians waiting to climb the corporate ladder of higher paying district jobs. Cassie Killgore has made measurable results with her leadership. The principals of most elementary schools couldn't care less about kids as evidenced by the revolving door on most of their offices. School Board members don't care about your kids. They only see it as a stepping stone to a political career. Vote them out.

PitMix Sep 22, 2020 12:43 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Still gotta give me a reason for replacing an experienced stepping stone with inexperienced ones. We tried that for President and it didn't work out well.

GeneralTree Sep 21, 2020 08:09 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Author is apparently an expert on solar power and probably windmill cancer too. Fails to list benefits of solar power. Dribble. Sounds like a far right activist. School choice Devos BS too maybe? "Many parents feel that their children need to return to in-person learning." Sources, statistics?

dukemunson Sep 21, 2020 08:15 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

GT- the “Every parent feels that their children need to return to in person learning” statement doesn’t need stats or sources... it’s obvious and true to everyone who is a parent.

PitMix Sep 22, 2020 07:14 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Duke, but many parents are also worried about their kids getting sick, or bringing the virus home. They are balancing those two thoughts in their heads. Resulting in the WA Post finding this in August: Most parents see in-person school as unsafe, Post-Schar School poll finds. ... percent — want their schools to offer a mix of online and in-person classes ... and those with children in public schools say it's not safe to go back to ...

dukemunson Sep 22, 2020 09:10 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Exactly! That's what will make it even easier for schools to open! A certain number of parents will choose to keep their kids online out of safety/convenience/preference/etc... and hey, more power to them. The point is choice! If you don't want to go to the grocery store and are choosing to have all your groceries and food delivered to you, OK...that's your choice. But many families are relying on the schools on a lot of levels, and yet the schools are failing them. Considering the reduced number of kids, schools could easily resume in a reduced capacity, be that less days, less hours, less hours and days! Fill out the waiver SCHOOLD BOARD...DO YOUR JOB!!!!!

letmego Sep 22, 2020 01:41 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

What I am seeing in my cohort, mostly (and by attending district meetings and seeing the results of their surveys), is that the wealthy and white families, for the most part (65-70%) are the ones that are itching to get their kids back into in person school. I can see that, and can suppose why that is. If you are middle class or upper class and have good health insurance, having your kids at home is probably your biggest problem.

Prior surveys have shown that the poorer and EL families (who are more affected by COVID, both in infection rates, school closures, etc) are more likely to support a slow start to in person learning.

The most recent survey was about 50/50, but still slightly >50% of parents stated that they felt opening right now was unsafe (though the survey was taken near the end of August).

Right now the district is recommending a slow start, phased in, and I think that's probably the best, safest way to go.

dukemunson Sep 22, 2020 02:38 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

LETMEGO - It's a tough town to live in without two incomes in the family. Keeping kids out of school despite school being able to stop is a real headache for many families in SB/Goleta. I can't speak to SB Unified but Goleta School was over 70% to return to school...and that survey was taken when the numbers were much higher. Offer parents options and solutions...the 30% that don't want to come back can continue with ZOOM, that makes it that much easier for schools to open as they would have quite a few less students. Start with fewer days and hours and build from there because the current "do nothing" plan works for teachers, admins and a few people here on EDHAT, but the majority of locals with kids want and need their kids back in school. It's going to look different and not be ideal...but the current situation is untenable.

letmego Sep 22, 2020 02:57 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

DUKE, you really cannot give parents the "option" of staying home and doing zoom, and the rest going back to school. At least at the elementary level - without increasing staff, there really is NO way to do that. An elementary teacher cannot simultaneously teach students in person AND on zoom. You would need to double the number of teachers if you wanted to allow half the students to be taught in person and half via zoom. If you split the class into two - one teacher for zoom, and one for in person, well then you are right back to classrooms with 25-30 students and no physical distancing.

Hybrid is like the best/worst of both worlds, but even then, when your students are NOT in class they are NOT zooming with teachers at the elementary level, they are essentially doing independent study.

dukemunson Sep 22, 2020 03:47 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

We hired 21 new teachers (in Goleta). If say 25% of the kids didn't come back, and you started with 2 days, it would be seemingly quite manageable to make it work. Considering one of the SB school board members was proudly offering a church auditorium for kids to online zoom from, you could add that too! It's not ideal...but for a certain number of parents, having their kid ZOOM from the school auditorium would be much better than the current situation. Let's abandon the all or nothing thought...we don't need to start 8am to 3pm next week. But two days a week in which it's understood that at least part of one of those days is online in the auditorium with a teacher is doable. Build from there. And yes...the money and facilities are available...it's a question of whether the teachers union and the school board are willing to work for our kids.

dukemunson Sep 22, 2020 03:52 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

While I think elementary would be much easier to restart than Junior High or High School...restart something! Run classes for elementary kids at San Marcos or La Colina...or vice versa! Spread out. I'd say let's reexamine why we have the silly number of "administrators" as it seems like theres a crazy amount of wasted salary going to non teachers, but that's probably for another day...right along with long term let's start school as the science dictates, after 9am at the earliest!! Basically...DO SOMETHING other than collecting your checks and catching the weekly zoom meeting to repeat one after another, ROBUST ONLINE - ROBUST ONLINE.

letmego Sep 22, 2020 04:02 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Goleta is not SBUnified. Goleta is elementary only with ~2000 students. 21 teachers makes a big difference. SBUnified has 14,000 students, 2500 of them elementary students. Goleta also has comparatively more money than SBUnified (per student). Goleta has the option of independent study - they've hired people to monitor parents who have chosen that option vs. zoom. SB Unified does not have the money for that.

I am not thinking about "all or nothing" at all. I happen to (unfortunately/ fortunately) be in the position where I'm forced to attempt to work all day while sharing a room with an elementary student on zoom. There. is. no. way. these teachers can co-teach students by zoom and in person. There is no way to put kids in the auditorium 2 days a week. That's the cafeteria, by the way, and you could fit exactly ONE grade out of 7 in there. Where are the other 6 grades going to go?

As far as I can tell, SBUnified has plans to ease into it - first with small cohorts (as soon as next week), then with more needy cohorts (which will basically be zooming FROM CAMPUS with people to monitor them - but if you have multiple grade levels at a time, that is going to be difficult). After that, hybrid -which at least seems manageable.

dukemunson Sep 22, 2020 04:41 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

My perspective is purely from a Goleta District perspective as that's where amy kids go...and, despite having quite a few less students and more money than the SB unified, somehow sounds wildly behind SB Unified. My kids were in classes of 19, 21 and 22 kids. Our audiotrium is huge...so is the play ground. I don't have much to say about the school board prior to COVID, I'm not coming from a political perspective on this. They hired 21 extra teachers. They have mostly small classes already. In the Goleta schools it would be very easy to go Hybrid...in fact they told us in June that they were all ready for Hyrbid and it was going to be great! Then...they threw up their hands and gave up! In the mean time they hired more teachers, got tons of federal funds and the numbers went down. So...in Goleta, use the auditorium for 6 hours of the school day it's not being used for lunch. Put a tent up...or three! Expand the garden and do more classes outside...it's Santa Barbara...we have good weather! Heck, add "snow days" into the plan so that any day that doesn't have good weather is a ZOOM day. Wildly expand the PE curriculum to get kids moving outside. We'll be in the red next week...time to go to work Goleta School Board!

Lorax Sep 21, 2020 09:43 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Amen, things must change now ! Get Capps , Moten -Sims, and Reid out. They have not served the interest of parents or children Time for change now. Alverez is just a mouthpiece for teachers union and is running as a back up for the status quo which is not working. Nope we sure don't want more of the same. Move forward with McLearn, Campbell and De wit , voices that will serve the community and put kids first. Anyone who lives Montecito , Santa Barbara and Goleta can vote for 3 new voices for Santa Barbara Unified School District.
Thank you Coalition for neighborhood Schools for the unbiased forum.

a-1600752194 Sep 21, 2020 10:23 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Carbon-based fuels are toxic waste from the get-go, and burning them just shifts them from one toxic form to another. To think solar power is somehow worse shows a lack of thinking.

PitMix Sep 22, 2020 07:08 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Don't forget nuclear, that's the other energy form the science deniers love to tout even though Hanford and the fire in the New Mexico salt mines says it is too toxic for humans to handle.

a-1601609359 Oct 01, 2020 08:29 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Seems to be a lot of unwarranted anxiety about nuclear:

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54211450

Fusion is getting closer, which will be very good.

sbdude Sep 22, 2020 12:01 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Up until this year, we have been experiencing times of plenty, yet the school district has operated in the red for several years now. The board has mismanaged the district's finances badly, and I can't imagine what's going to happen in 2021 when big budget cuts come rolling in. All the while class sizes are already too big, existing schools are falling apart, and student achievement is going nowhere. But they bought the Armory, went millions over budget on Peabody stadium, they're going over budget on DP's new engineering building and they haven't started on it yet, and just announced a new VADA building at SB!

a-1600799806 Sep 22, 2020 11:36 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Is there any movement being made to sell the Armory? It would be an ideal workforce housing site. Santa Barbara is going to be hit with a big housing zoning increase in the RHNA numbers and being able to point to that location would be very helpful in showing that the city is trying to build something other than high end market housing. ...With school population dropping, is anyone looking ahead?

letmego Sep 22, 2020 01:35 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Actually, it's completely the opposite. Our district (SBUnified) has been funded via LCFF vs. Basic Aid. Essentially, this means that the state of California has decided that there is a "floor" for cost to educate each type of student (by grade level, poverty level, and English language proficiency). Once the property taxes are calculated and the amount of money available for the schools is figured, the state determines if you are LCFF vs basic aid.

If your tax collections are too low, the district will be below the "floor", and the state will ADD to the prop taxes. Thus, your district money available is the absolute minimum allowed by the state. If your tax collections are HIGHER than the floor, then you keep all the extra and you are funded more generously - think Goleta USD, Montecito Union, Hope school district, and Cold Spring.

This is the first year in many that SB unified is basic aid, meaning our prop tax income exceeds the "floor".

citizenSB Sep 23, 2020 01:16 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

It would be great if all of our schools were basic aid, meaning they got enough in tax revenue so they were always above the floor for LCFF.
We have a substantial number of subsidized housing units which provider low or no property tax, and more in the works.
The school district should strongly object to subsidize housing projects of any type without some sort of payment in lieu of taxes.

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