The candidates have been busy. They’ve made themselves available for public questioning, met with the superintendent and district staff, spoken with teachers, principals, and parents, and papered the neighborhoods with flyers and door hangers. We vote on November 2, a mere twelve days away. Are you ready to decide?
You have one more chance to hear for yourself where they stand on the issues. The Carlsbad High School Parent Association is hosting a “Candidates Forum” for candidates running for the CUSD Board of Trustees on Tuesday, October 26 at the Carlsbad Cultural Arts Center, 3557 Monroe Street. The forum will begin at 7 P.M. Doors open at 6:30. This event will be moderated by The League of Women Voters.
Hopefully the audience at the high school forum will shine the spotlight on key issues that differentiate the candidates. Here are some to listen for:
1. The budget. So far, all candidates have spoken about a deficit and where they would cut expenses. This implies that we must make cuts – and no one has questioned that assumption. Several of the candidates have had the opportunity to review the district’s financials. They should know that state law requires a 3% emergency reserve, while Carlsbad is currently stockpiling reserves in the double digits. And if they have been paying attention, they know that since the state budget was approved and the school year has started, the actual deficit number has dropped significantly as well. It will be revealing to hear if any candidate presents the district’s financial picture in a more honest way.
2. The new high school. Every candidate has mentioned it as a priority, but no candidate has spoken in detail about a vision for what it should be like. Should it mirror the current high school, or should it become an alternative “school of choice”? What the candidates say on this will likely make up the minds of much of the high school constituency.
3. Change or the status quo. There are two candidates who represent new ideas and a chance for new relationships: Veronica Williams and Ray Pearson. As the incumbent, Lisa Rodman is calling for little change, and her praise for the current board and superintendent confirm this. Ann Tanner stands somewhere in the middle, not greatly challenging the status quo but expressing some goals for improvement in specific areas such as college readiness rates. Your opinion of how things are in the district right now will affect whether you support candidates who represent change or more of the same.