Jackson’s Out! Who’s In for San Diego Unified School Board?

Erica Holloway Erica Holloway 18 Comments


Blood hit the water.

Seems San Diego Unified School District board member Shelia Jackson will not seek re-election. So far, a handful of candidates popped up on the radar screen as potential candidates for her seat.

According to Voice of San Diego’s Emily Alpert, as many as four candidates could be in the race though I’m sure the picture will look different in the months to come.

Three of the four candidates listed themselves as Democrats or “voting” Democratic with the forth yet to go on the record. No word yet as to whether board members Richard Barrera or John Lee Evans will face opponents.

No doubt budgetary dysfunction will be a focal point of the election giving candidates a built in platform. But just how candidates propose to solve the fiscal crisis will be their individual challenges.

Running for school board ain’t easy. Takes brave souls with thick skins and GPS coordinates to deep pockets.

Best of luck to them!

– Follow me @erica_holloway.


Comments 18

  1. Could we PLEASE find an aggressive and ambitious conservative to take Evans on? Anyone that thought that Lee or Nakamura didn’t deserve GOP support should just watch the horrors that will happen when the district goes into insolvency (which will take YEARS to get out of if past is prologue). Won’t it be fun ttry to sell one’s house and disclose “Yes, the school district your kids will go to is flat broke and likely to be so for at least a decade”. Glad I live in PUSD.

    BTW – Evans represents University City and Mira Mesa. Come on Tony K, recruit a viable candidate!!!

  2. The three (or more) Democrats will shortly participate in what H.L. Mencken (in describing elections) characterized as “a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.” Each in turn will troop down to labor HQ to promise ’em whatever is needed win labor support. The biggest promiser wins the bidding (and the prize).

    Then the unions will put whatever it takes into the race to keep control of the district. No other entity will participate on that level of funding and “volunteer” support.

    Barring a prominent maverick Democrat who can grab the public’s interest as a champion of the STUDENTS, PARENTS and TAXPAYERS, the district will remain in the hands of the labor unions. And that ain’t gonna happen.

    Such is life. Get used to it.

    Forget the kids.

  3. Nakamura is a Democrat. I don’t think the Republican Party could have supported her.

    As for finding an ambitious candidate, that may be tough since the School Board will essentially have no power should the District get taken over by the State.

  4. Richard, I hope you are wrong! Our kids need leaders who put them first. I think there is money out there to beat the union. The union doesn’t want to spend too much on Evans and Barrera anyway, as they voted for layoffs.

    Don’t give up people…just help us find someone to run! Just getting a name on the ballot could be all we need.

  5. Mr. Rider: Your dry cynicism is once again spot on accurate.

    If only some center-right organization existed for the purpose of effectively rallying grassroots activists behind their Republican candidates in a meaningful way that wins elections…

  6. A candidate doesn’t need GPS coordinates…just the ability to call the Registrar to determine their house is actually in the district…and the good sense to know you don’t vote to advance employees who let you live with them.

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    Dear gopmomofthree:

    Bless you for your optimism.

    Would you care to make a declaration today for a run at a seat? Salvation lies within.

    Best, Erica

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    Dear Alger:

    Insolvency isn’t a forgone conclusion, but yes, it is certainly a real possibility.

    In the case of becoming advisory, school board members should be focused on what’s best for kids, not their political aspirations.

    Best, Erica

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    Dear Richard:

    The parents and the community can’t just step aside and watch the ruin.

    Regardless of whether you have kids in that district or not (and most voters don’t), the financial and academic health of a school district affects everyone.

    Best, Erica

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  13. “A candidate doesn’t need GPS coordinates…just the ability to call the Registrar to determine their house is actually in the district…and the good sense to know you don’t vote to advance employees who let you live with them.”

    Ah, if it were only so. I considered running for the Barrera seat. Took several weeks, met with all kinds of people about the decision.

    Truth is, it does not pass the CBA. There are tremendous costs. Campaign manager, finance manager, etc, etc.

    It’s not good enough to understand the issues and be willing to display the intestinal fortitude to do the job.

    You must be a fundraiser. You must hold parties at your home where you ask your friends- no beg!- for money. You must open yourself for ridicule and your family to extra-special scrutiny.

    And the job pays $18,000. And it’s a terrible job if you want to do something good.

    That does not mean, however, one cannot help influence decision making and public awareness of issues surrounding schools.

    In fact, I know one person who strongly believes the ability to be candid and forthcoming outside the system could bring more and faster changes.

  14. Oh- did I mention with the near-certainty of insolvency, a trustee becomes the beyotch (I’m so sorry, I just know of no better term) of whatever receiver is appointed?

    No power- “advisory only” and while being a part-time $18k advisor is more attractive than a hard-working school trustee for 18k, it does not necessarily help students.

  15. Indeed, Paul, a campaign does require most if not all of those things. We were just being flippantly mocking of an outgoing trustee. We will add, however, that all of the traits you mention are meaningless unless, first, one does live in the district.

  16. Surely there will be at the very least a token candidate to offer a school reform alternative — and to help drain the union coffers. But the outcome is preordained. Sorry.

    If Steve Rosen couldn’t win in a north-of-I-8 school district, no one can.

    IF and when we decide the kids come first, we will reform education through the PROPOSITION process. We need statewide school choice (vouchers or tax credits) on the ballot. Every election. That and paycheck protection.

    Save the kids. Gut the public employee labor unions.

  17. Paul’s point is well taken. But what the PARTY/Lincoln could do is help a bit with some of the start up costs. . Put some seed money together so people could get help with the initial filing/legal issues. A “meet and greet” for would be candidates and the consultant community. Heck, the would be candidates out with some weekend bootcamps on politics and policy..

    Now the thing is Rostraians, the left does a bunch of this – from their “young liberal activists” boot camp to providing in-kinds from unions.

    There is no substitute for the hard work of campaigning. Slog and, as pointed out, for 18K and likely the shame of watching the state take over. But what organizations like the party and/or LC or others could do is help with the initial “bureaucratic” hurdles. Moreover, it is a pretty “cheap” endevour – indeed there are a number of consultants that would either deeply discount or provide as a loss-leader to drum up new business. Not sexy, can’t really get into tweet wars over it, but probably critical if you want to build party registration.

    Heck, not to kill the horse but why is the party not finding some north county folks to go rescue Tri-City Hospital? Showing adult leadership THERE would be a huge way of building brand.

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    Hi Erik:

    To cut to the chase, I’m not sure Mr. Bowers nor many other would-be candidates get far past the initial discussion of associated costs to get to that all-too-important party-line-in the sand.

    Unlike the Union, the Republicans don’t naturally gravitate toward school or education issues because they don’t necessarily have a horse in the race. Many conservatives have all but abandoned the public education system and have turned focus on other areas they see as winnable, virtually conceding ground outright to the Union. How many GOP presidential hopefuls suggested eliminating the Department of Education? How many GOP candidates at any level prop up the almighty private education as the model?

    Whereas, Union interests are protecting Union jobs and therefore push hard for their people to put those interests first. The opposite of the Union interests isn’t necessarily the GOP/ Lincoln Club/ various taxpayer advocates. The opposite of Union interests in schools is typically the District and in some cases, active parents.

    In cases when the Union candidate has been clearly defined, the GOP favorite is highlighted, sometimes just by default. The more aggressive and openly partisan candidates take the natural steps to get the funding, endorsements, etc and treat it as they should, a run for office. But mostly, Erik, these are just parents who care about their kids and wanting to see education improved. They’re usually not political animals.

    While I would love to see the GOP take a more active role, their idea of a candidate and who naturally gravitate toward running for school board are rarely the same.

    If you envision a better solution to these ideological disparities, I’m sure we’d all love to hear them. Especially those of us who are products of and believers in public education.

    Best, Erica

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