Candidate Forum Scheduled for Santa Barbara and Goleta School Board Races

By Alice Post, Coalition for Neighborhood Schools; Teri Jory, The Resource Santa Barbara; and Jacqueline Inda, Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Numerous school board elections are on the November ballot countywide.  A virtual forum for two of those many districts, the Goleta elementary schools (GUSD) and Santa Barbara elementary and secondary schools (SBUSD), will be held on Monday, October 3, 2022, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. via Zoom.  There are a total of eleven Goleta and Santa Barbara school board candidates, and all been invited to this candidate forum

Co-sponsors for this event are the Coalition for Neighborhood Schools, The Resource Santa Barbara, and the Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  The forum will be jointly moderated by former SBUSD school board member Lanny Ebenstein.and Jerry Roberts of Newsmakers.

This is the first election since almost all school districts countywide have switched from at-large to district elections.  As a result of the switch to district elections, there are many more candidates, drawing from smaller geographical trustee areas than in the past under the at-large system.  Many candidates have come forward countywide seeking a seat on these newly-formed trustee areas for elementary, secondary, and community college districts, as well as for the County Board of Education, which oversees all county school districts.

Here is the list of candidates invited to this Candidate Forum:

Santa Barbara Elementary & Secondary (SBUSD):

SBUSD Tr. Area 1 (Santa Barbara Eastside and Westside):   Efigenia Banales, Gabe Escobedo, Dan La Berge

SBUSD Tr. Area 4 (South Goleta):  Phebe Mansur, Rose Munos

Goleta Elementary (GUSD):

GUSD Tr. Area 1 (North Goleta):  Caroline Abate, Richard Meyer

GUSD Tr. Area 3:  (Central Goleta North and South of 101):  Bert Haley, Christy Lozano, Emily Zacarias.

GUSD Tr. Area 5 (Isla Vista to Gaviota South of 101):  Ethan Bertrand (unopposed)

Some questions will be given to the candidates in writing in advance, and some questions will be taken from the floor during the event.  All community members, parents and teachers are invited to attend and participate in this Zoom forum, as schools are so important to the community.

Zoom link to forum:


Written by Anonymous

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  1. Anyone associated with Fair Education SB is a far-right looney toon. They couldn’t manage their own tuna sandwich let alone our schools. Keep the infection out. We don’t need your religion telling us what kids should learn and read about at school. The candidates they’ve put forth now and in the past are bigoted. They want to ban books. They want to skip over subjects in history like slavery. In fact, they want to get rid of history classes altogether like their national partners Moms for Liberty which are infecting schools with fascism. I can’t believe Christy Lozano is trying to slither back in to a race after losing badly for superintendent. Her home school that she’s advertised on her facebook site has failed. She and her partner James Fenkner regularly assault our schools with far-right propaganda. Fenkner made his money in Russia from Russian oligarchs – and proudly disparages the Ukraine in social media. Lozano wouldn’t be re-hired again in Santa Barbara as a PE teacher.

  2. This is an opportunity to improve our education system locally, at least a bit. Our current system and leaders are failing our kids badly. Read up, decide, and vote.
    The wacko or two here will keep spewing about ‘far right’ and ‘ultra liberal’ , us vs. them, etc. and adding nothing to the conversation.

  3. As indicated on her website, Caroline Abate is a fundamentalist Christian who blatantly advocates for her narrow brand of Christianity to dictate public school policies and procedures for all students in the Goleta district. She does not appear to support the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution which clearly specifies the need to separate church and state. She also opposes sex education, particularly about gender and sexual orientation which she believes is “very traumatic, confusing and absolutely inapprpriate (sic)” and “harmful to children who have pre-existing psychologic, mental health, learning or behaviorial (sic) health issues.” As a special education instructor, sex educator, and college professor for over 30 years I can tell you how misguided her beliefs are. Research has shown the value of early education about sexuality in preventing depression, self-harm, and suicide among young people, especially LGBTQ+ individuals, who like straight people, are usually clear about their gender identity and sexual orientation at a very early age. Knowledge and acceptance of oneself and support from others are key in surviving the challenges of adolescence. Knowing about human sexuality and what to expect as we grow can also prevent sexual abuse, unintended pregnancy, and STIs, and promote healthy well-adjusted adolescents and adults. I urge residents of GUSD area 1 to vote for professor Richard Mayer, PhD, for a research and rationality based approach to the education of our children.

  4. Caroline Abate believes and wants you to believe, and I kid you not, that if you even “tell” (not even teach) children about “serious sexual topics” and “difficult racial issues,” it will “harm their mental health” and cause them to turn into unstable criminals with “violent public outbursts later in life that threaten school and public safety.”
    Yes, even telling a child about how racism affected our history or that some people feel more comfortable identifying as a different gender, will turn the kids into violent criminals as adults. If that is not an outright lie, I don’t know what is.
    Why must these far right candidates insist on lies and fear mongering? It’s terrifying to see how many (some here even) that have swallowed the paranoia and lies.

    • We can all read, VOBigots.
      “These programs teach concepts of transgender ideology, with which, for example, Christians and Catholics disagree. Using my taxpayer dollars to teach these ideas, is, essentially, forcing me to agree with an idea that contradicts my religious beliefs in the creation of only men and women, taking away my constritutional right to freedom of religion. As well, it is a form of coerced speech, in violation of my Constitutional right to freedom of speech.
      Students have the right to opt out of taking the sexual curriculum classes, but what about their right to equal access to all classes offered at a publicly funded institution? If a student or his or her parents feel they should not attend a class because they are uncomfortable with the content or because it violates their religious beliefs, those classes are discriminatory and should not be allowed in public schools. These are some of the commonsense reasons why public schools should not allow political ideology, harmful sexual curriculums or a globalist agenda to be taught to students.”
      Aside from the blatant anti-trans bigotry and the hypocritical imposition of a certain religious ideology on the entire population, “globalist agenda” is a conspiracist dog-whistle with antisemitic implications. ( ,
      Bigotry is only one of the problems with extreme right wing ideologue Ms. Abate, who managed to make at least 16 spelling errors on her page. She doesn’t belong anywhere near our children or education generally, and the same can be said of anyone defending her.

    • “why people are fighting to teach little kids about sex / sexuality is beyond me” – yeah, good thing that’s not what anyone is doing. No one is “fighting” for anything other than not being fired (and in some states also sued in civil court) for age appropriate discussions about sex and gender.
      What, SPECIFICALLY, do you think us liberals are trying to teach 1st graders? How to put on condoms? What is it you’re so scared of? What do you think people are “fighting to teach?” “Sex/sexuality” is not an answer. Specifics.

    • VOICE – I answered your question and you call me a bigot. Makes no sense. Are you seriously trying to deny she said these words in her flier? Yeah she has a website, go check it out if you want.
      Edhat – is it possible for me to upload a photo? I think it would be relevant to this election for all to see what a candidate has been mailing out.

    • VOICE – “carefully selected” – how would you know unless you’ve read the same flier I received? Your prejudice is astounding. I’ve already posted the text in its entirety, but will do so for the sole purpose of proving you, once again, WRONG.
      ” – Children will believe just about anything (all bold bullet point). Telling you, immature children about serious sexual topics and difficult racial issues is harming their mental health and stability and leading to violent public outbursts later in life that threaten school and public safety.”
      That was the first bullet point in the mailed flier myself and thousands of other Goleta residents received on September 23, 2022.
      Now you tell me, how is that not bigoted? There is no proof whatsoever that being TOLD about trans issues or racism at an age appropriate level CAUSES late life “violent outbursts” or “harms mental health.” These are LIES spewed by someone who follows an extreme right wing ideology based on unfounded fear. In other words, a BIGOT.
      Now, go ahead and defend her……. We all know you will.

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