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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Lorax Sep 23, 2020 02:13 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Any one can go to greatschools.org and get the scores in all areas for all our schools in reading and math proficiency as well as other information such as the percentages of ethnicities and socioeconomic factors. This is why Franklin keeps standing out and Adelante shows failure to provide opportunity for learning English. Check it out and then vote!
All property owners pay taxes that support this district even if they don't have children or grandchildren enrolled in school in Santa Barbara.
We need the incumbents out, they have failed on their watch. Time to switch the team out for success.
Anyone that cares about our schools that is a registered voter between Goleta and Montecieto can vote for the Santa Barbara Unified School District

a-1600996295 Sep 24, 2020 06:11 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Good, now Roosevelt does not have to be the only magnet school in this town. Sounds like the Franklin magic can be applied across the board. What's holding the others back?

letmego Sep 24, 2020 05:42 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Franklin's scores have be increasing consistently over the last several years. Most of the schools in SBUnified also have increasing scores, but theirs are increasing at a much higher rate. This last year their scores surpassed Roosevelt's.

PitMix Sep 23, 2020 03:07 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Franklin is a 5 out of 10 according to CSR results. They only look good compared to Harding and other failing schools. Given the past election results, I don't know overposting on Edhat is the best way to convince other voters to get onboard with your agenda. Duke and the others are probably way ahead of you on this. But our pesky liberal majority is SB is not.

mahneke Sep 22, 2020 11:14 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

This loser of a school board did a country wide search for a superintendent and settled on a person from the worst school district in CA, and the second worst district in the country( NY is first) These people need to be voted out in the worst way. They have no integrity and have to go.

a-1600897348 Sep 23, 2020 02:42 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Ever think with the current SBUSD board, the budget and the local hyper-activism, any good school superintendents would not take this job for a million bucks, let alone apply for it? The dance of the lemons applies to school superintendents too; not just bad teachers. SBUSD is a career killer position for anyone serious about education.

Happy2BeSB Sep 22, 2020 10:18 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Solar panels do not have a limited lifespan. Even after 25 years, they still operate at roughly 88% of their original capacity. I appreciate that you want the administrators to focus on education, and I agree with you. But please don't spread disinformation about solar energy to support your opinion. Also, do you have any statistics to show how many hours the board spent on solar panels? My guess is that they spent a tiny fraction of their time on the issue, which will be more than adequately offset by the money saved on energy expenses.

Byzantium Sep 22, 2020 09:34 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

A good school board represents the mission, the students, the parents and the taxpayers. They stay arms length from the in-house teachers unions, because the board's primary duty is to negotiate with internal school employee unions keeping in mind the interests of the mission, the students, the parents and the taxpayers, but also along with the school employee union interests as a consideration too. There is no need for an elected school board if all they do is bow down to the teacher union demands. Their role is to exercise independent judgment and walk a tightrope balancing act between all interested parties. Current school boards have wrongly become extensions of only one part of this interests consortium they were elected to represent. That is the imbalance that has led to mission failure, cost over-runs, administrative chaos and frank disloyalty to their full spectrum of their intended school board service. Teacher unions howl the most during school board elections, but they are not the only voice that needs attention. Who will bring balance to the multipart role school boards were intended to play: the mission, the students, the parents and the tax payers. Not just subservient loyalty to the teacher union members who substantially fund their campaigns, do their marketing and field the GOTV ground troops. When all parts of the equation are working together you cannot have failing schools. We have failing schools, so the board make-up and relationship to the larger goals must be rebalanced. Bring badly needed independence and balance to the currently lop-sided, teacher union dominated SBUSD board.

PitMix Sep 22, 2020 07:11 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Edhat commentators tend to be more extremist than Santa Barbara as a whole. Most liberal posters no longer engage here. Posters hate Murillo but she has been re-elected several times and would have been top 2 for Assembly if the field of candidates hadn't been so strong and split the vote. Will see how you Elrawd and Brian supporters do in November. My guess is, not very well.

PitMix Sep 23, 2020 07:32 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Duke, speak for the extremes of your party. The extremes of the Dems would defund the police and reallocate capital, and you notice how none of those bills went anywhere in the last legislative session. You can sleep easy knowing the moderate dems are in control.

dukemunson Sep 22, 2020 09:16 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

You are correct...and the status quo will prevail. The teachers union, which is horribly powerful and works against our kids best interests will get their candidates elected. Same with the police union in most elections. It's sad that the extremes of both parties have the microphone and sway public opinion.

a-1600759302 Sep 22, 2020 12:21 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Incumbents Earn an "F"

Surprised nobody has brought up the real reason for badmouthing the incumbents- “Fair Education Santa Barbara”, and the debates on bias training, ethnic studies and comprehensive sex education. Where do the challenging candidates stand on these things....?

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!

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.

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".

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?

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.

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:


Fusion is getting closer, which will be very good.

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.

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.

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 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!

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 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.

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.

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 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 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 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!!!!!

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.)


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