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Chula Vista Elementary School board race is an opportunity to elect a candidate of the people

Created: 03 October, 2014
Updated: 13 September, 2023
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12 min read

The Chula Vista Elementary School Board has had an interesting history. Its composition has seemed to be more of a closed club than one that represented the whole community. There was a time when four of the five sitting board members lived in Bonita, a stone’s throw away from one another. To preserve their “country club members only” philosophy, the board went through a period where they practiced the least democratic ideal: a board member would leave before their term expired so that his/her successor would be appointed by the remaining four members, rather than the electorate. When you consider that an incumbent has rarely lost their race this practice insured the continuation of a good old boy system.

A fine example of this good old boy system at work was the appointment of Police Chief David Bejarano who replaced Cheryl Cox after she was elected mayor in 2008. Bejarano’s wife worked for the Superintendent. Then there was the appointment of Glendora Tremper to replace Russell Coronado. Tremper had a close working relationship with the current superintendent. After Tremper’s appointment, four of the five board seats on that board had been originally filled by appointment. When David Bejarano decided to step down his daughter Melissa Bejarano filed to run for his seat. No one dared to run against her and the political machine of the Bejarano family. Ultimately her name was not placed on the ballot and she was appointed to the seat, as voters did not have a single choice.

This year’s election is different in many ways. Previous board members had held their positions for around 20 years and had a huge advantage in name recognition and contractor donations. In this race, there are no incumbents running for the three open seats. It is a wide-open race! This is the first time in many years that there is an opportunity for a breath of fresh air and a return to democracy for the elementary school board.

Chula Vista Elementary school board races are a little quirky in that the candidates will be running for a particular seat, this year Seat No. 1; Seat No. 3; and Seat No. 5, but there is no geographical association with the these seats. As such these races are a city wide election. This system is different than the geographic districted seats that are being elected in the Sweetwater School District this year.

In our review of the candidates for the Sweetwater school board race, for all those candidates who did not respond we included a short note on them. For the Chula Vista Elementary District we will not be listing them, in order to cut down on the length of this article. We will only include those candidates who responded to our questionnaire.

Candidate Francisco Tamayo, Chula Vista Elementary Seat 1:

Candidate Francisco Tomayo
Candidate Francisco Tomayo

Francisco Tamayo lists himself as an educator within the Chula Vista Elementary School District, as a Program Analyst. He is the father of two young children.

Tamayo is the chapter president of the California School Employees Association and is involved with Democratic Party. He received the endorsement of the Democratic Party.

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Overcrowding, our school district needs to start investing resources to address the problem of overcrowding in our schools. I am in favor of creating a strategic district plan on reducing the class sizes district wide and set a goal of 22 students to teacher ratio.

What is the role/responsibility of a school board member?

As a board member my role will be to be the voice on the board of the parents, community, and most importantly students. I will be responsible of ensuring that our students are getting the best education for the tax dollars we spent. I will be making decisions on school programs, incorporating the views of every stakeholder group.

How would you hold the board accountable?

The board needs to be accountable to the community that elected them to their office, I will advocate for transparency in our decision making, open our financial book for public review and make sure that our board members hold town hall meeting with the public to receive input outside of the board room.

What are your financial priorities?

With 22% reserves, the District needs to develop a plan and vision that starts investing strategically the reserves in the classrooms, and expanding or restoring programs that build on Science, Technology, Math and Arts.

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Testing has become a priority, what are your views on testing?

While testing is an integral part of a standard based educational system. Such testing should be based on strong standards, should be tied directly to the curriculum, and define acceptable performance. As a board member, I will advocate for appropriate, high quality, responsible student testing that supports and enhances teaching and learning with teachers involved at all stages of the test development process.

Francisco Tamayo’s website is: http://www.franciscota mayo.com/

Candidate George Cameron, Chula Vista Elementary Seat 1:

Candidate George Caameron
Candidate George Caameron

George Cameron has been an educator for 40 years, as both a teacher and as an administrator. He served as superintendent of National School District, National City, for 16 years. At present he is the interim-superintendent for San Ysidro School District.

Cameron’s community involvement includes 30 year member of Sweetwater Kiwanis Club; Former Board Member—South Bay Community Services; Past Commissioner—San Diego County First Five Commission; and Former Board Member—Catholic Charities Board of Directors.

What do you believe is the number one issue with the district?

Chula Vista is a progressive district that has been recognized repeatedly for its strong focus on instructional quality and school performance. I believe another priority issue in the district is the transition to the new Common Core curriculum and State Standards. The new State Standards are rigorous and will require thoughtful planning and professional development for all teachers. In addition, the shift to the new curriculum will require investment and research of new technologies to supplement and support the Common Core Standards, and give students access to 21st century tools that support the rigor of the new curriculum.

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What is the role/responsibility of a school board member?

A school board member is, first and foremost, an advocate for public education and student success. Board members are policy makers who hold the superintendent accountable for the implementation of its policies and the operation of the school district. They provide financial oversight and ensure the district is managing public funds in a responsible manner and in concert with its vision and mission. They are public servants who conduct the business of the school district in open and transparent ways through their monthly meetings.

How would you hold the board accountable?

No one board member can hold the entire board accountable. Rather, it is the responsibility of each member to abide by its policies and bylaws, and work as a governance team to ensure that board decisions are made in concert with the district’s vision and mission. Effective school boards engage in ongoing communication and dialogue with all stakeholders and ensure that student success is their highest priority.

What are your financial priorities?

Board members have an obligation to adopt yearly budgets that provide for the effective management of the schools and support the priorities that advance student learning. As a board member, I would abide by those principles and ensure that the fiscal solvency of the school district was a key priority for the board. I would also advocate for the responsible use of the Local Control Funding Formula which is the new State funding model targeted to assist children with the most significant needs.

Testing has become a priority, what are your views on testing?

Testing is a necessary process for assessing school and student performance. While it is a mandatory requirement from the State, there should also be local assessments given periodically to students to assess their progress in reading, writing and math, for example. This information should be reviewed by the teachers regularly so that they can identify student strengths and weaknesses, and then implement strategies in their classrooms for addressing student needs and ways to advance learning. In addition, school performance results should be shared with the board annually in an effort to keep the members and the public informed about each school’s progress.

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Candidate Eduardo Reyes, Chula Vista Elementary Seat 5:

Candidate Eduardo Reyes
Candidate Eduardo Reyes

Dr. Eduardo Reyes has worked in the educational field for over 22 years. During that time, he has worked in the K- 6 level, 7-12 level, adult school, Regional Occupational Program/Career Technical Education program, and college/university level. He has worked as a teacher, program manager, adjunct professor, Coordinated Intervention Services coordinator, Associated Student Body advisor, assistant principal, and principal. In addition, he earned a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership for K-12 education.

Reyes has received the endorsements from the teachers, classified employees, school administrators, and the Democratic Party, including Councilman David Alvarez, Assembly-person Lorena Gonzalez, and State Senator Marty Block.

What do you believe is the number one issue with the district?

The issue of providing students with educational equity to close the achievement gap is a number one priority. There is a big difference between equality and equity. Schools providing students access to equal programs throughout the district do not ensure that all students will be successful. Having equity across the district encompasses providing students with educational programs that best meets their individual needs and focuses on their own potential and challenges.

What is the role/responsibility of a school board member?

The role of the board member is to help develop, implement, and monitor district’s policies through a data and researched-based process. Board members should not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the district.

How would you hold the board accountable?

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As a board member, I would hold the other board members accountable by asking the right questions and insisting that decisions be made based on data and research. I plan to follow up on comments and proposals to ensure that the decisions made are in the best interest of students and teachers.

What are your financial priorities?

1. Ensure district has a balanced budget based on educational priorities.
2. Review current spending to ensure monies are being used to benefit students directly.
3. Adequate funding for early and on-going interventions of students with special needs.
4. Provide adequate classroom resources

Testing has become a priority, what are your views on testing?

We have to take a hard look at the type of testing we give our students. Assessments need to be relevant to what students are learning and they need to measure “real” outcomes. It is important to assess a school and/or district’s performance and how well students are doing. However, assessments should never have a negative effect on students or teachers.

I am concerned that some tests may be bias and the results they produce may not accurately assess the student, school, and district. I feel that some of the current standardized assessments do not accurately reflect what is being taught and how students are doing. In addition, I feel these tests can lower moral in students, teachers, and parents. If assessments are not aligned with what is being taught students will not do well and suffer from anxiety, decreased self-esteem, and unnecessary stress.

Furthermore, I believe that we need to take a hard look at the assessments we are giving, evaluate their efficacy, and make appropriate changes in order to best serve ALL students and provide them with the best education possible.

The website for Eduardo Reyes is: http://www.eduardoreyes4cvesd.com/

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Candidate Barbara Majchrzak, Chula Vista Elementary Seat 1:

Barbara Majchrzak recently retired from teaching after 35 years of teaching, 25 of those years were spent in the Chula Vista Elementary School District.

Ms. Majchrzak has the support and endorsement from teachers and their union.

Ms. Majchrzak did not respond to the questionnaire directly. Instead, shared her vision:

I am running for seat #1 of the Chula Vista School Board because I believe that I can help bring responsible change through responsible service. The students are my number one priority because I have been a teacher in the Chula Vista Elementary School District for the past 25 years. I would like to see their needs met by providing materials, assessments and progress reports that align with the Common Core Standards. I would like to see more of our schools modernized and technology updated.

I believe in parent rights. This is why I support charter schools and the right of parents to opt out of programs they feel do not meet their child’s needs.

I believe I can make a difference since I was in the classroom as of June. I understand where we were 25 years ago as well as where we are today. I’d like to help shape where we will be in the future.

Mid-Term elections will be held on Nov 4, with mail ballots being sent out the first week of October. Are you registered to vote? Not sure? Visit the Registrar of Voters website at: http://www.sdvote.com/voters/Eng/Ereg.shtml

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