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Online Forum Spotlights Candidates for School Board Seats in SB Unified and Goleta Union Districts


Up against the Rams-49ers game for ratings, 10 candidates for five seats in two local school districts shared their views Monday night about literacy, sex ed, pandemic learning loss and a host of other issues facing public education.


A partnership of community groups, including The Resource Santa Barbara, the Coalition for Neighborhood Schools and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, sponsored a campaign forum featuring competitors for both the Goleta Union and Santa Barbara Unified district boards of educations.


The November 8 election is the first under a new district election system for local school board contests, and the candidates answered questions for 90 minutes about challenges confronting public schools, both universal and district-specific.


Participating in the event were:


  • Three contenders for an open seat in SBUSD Trustee Area #1 - retired educator Efigenia Banales, student affairs professional Gabe Escobedo and parent Dan Le Berge.


  • The incumbent in the Santa Barbara district's Trustee Area #4, Rose Munoz, and her challenger, small business owner Phebe Mansur.


  • The rivals in Goleta Union's Trustee Area #1 - incumbent and UCSB professor Richard Mayer, facing off against school teacher Caroline Abate.


  • Two of three candidates in the Goleta District's Trustee Area #3 - teacher Christy Lozano and teacher Emily Zacarias. Also on the ballot is businessman Bert Haley.


  • Ethan Bertrand, a Democratic Party activist, who is the only candidate for the seat representing Goleta Union's Trustee Area #5.


Among the more contentious matters were the sex education curriculum in Santa Barbara and a joint-use agreement between the City of Goleta and the School District.


The affair was co-moderated by longtime public schools advocate Lanny Ebenstein and Newsmakers' own genial host.


You can watch the forum via YouTube below or by clicking through this link. The podcast version is here,


JR





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