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.