Education

Meet Your School Board Candidates

To help better inform our readers about candidates running for local school boards, we sent each candidate a list of questions on important education topics–such as mental health services, college preparation, bond money, charter schools, immigration, and more.  We present here each candidate’s answers to our questions, along with a bit of information about them. Stay informed, and be sure to vote this November 6th!
Fullerton School District Board Candidates (Elementary/Jr. High)
The Fullerton School District is divided into five areas, as shown here.
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District 3 Candidates
Jennifer Harris is a parent of four young children and has lived in District 3 for 28 years. Visit www.VoteJenniferHarris.com.
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What mental & emotional health services should be offered?
A mental health counselor should be available for all students in Fullerton School District. I support the recent expansion of our mental health staffing.
Is “open enrollment school choice” a good idea?
Yes, open enrollment allows families to find the school that best fits their individual needs and allows schools to diversify programming options.
What is the importance of the Dual Immersion Program?
Dual Immersion provides an additional educational choice, promotes cultural diversity, and fosters bilingualism at the age the brain is most receptive to language development.
Do you support a day of recognition for Cesar Chavez?
I support teachers supplementing curriculum in culturally relevant ways to teach diverse populations. I need more information on what a Day of Recognition entails.
Are educational resources equal between schools in wealthy & low income areas?
The school site budgets in FSD vary widely across the District. I would like to seek more equity for every school and to reduce parent fundraising.
How should the district support immigrant and undocumented students?
FSD should continue to maintain the safety and confidentiality of every student, regardless of immigration status.
What is the most critical issue facing the district?
Declining enrollment from demographic shifts presents enormous challenges to the budget. Capital improvements to schools mostly built in the 1950s/60s are also a challenge.
Beverly Berryman is the incumbent and has lived in District 3 for 22 years. Visit www.bevberryman.com.
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What mental & emotional health services should be offered?
Mental health is as important as physical health. Students should have access to nurses, counselors, and therapists – and benefit from programs focusing on healthy lifestyles.
Is “open enrollment school choice” a good idea?
I believe in supporting neighborhood schools. Allowing families a choice among these schools is necessary, because students should have a chance to explore their interests.
What is the importance of the Dual Immersion Program?
Reaching high levels of academic proficiency, developing bi-literacy, narrowing the achievement gap, and cultivating cross-cultural competencies are necessary in a multicultural society and global economy.
Do you support a day of recognition for Cesar Chavez?
Honoring those individuals who have made contributions to history is important, and should be part of the cross-cultural classroom instruction.
Are educational resources equal between schools in wealthy & low income areas?
Our community is diverse, as are our children. My priority is to ensure every student has a chance to succeed, though student needs are not identical.
How should the district support immigrant and undocumented students?
All children have a right to a free and public education. Schools should be a safe and welcoming place regardless of citizenship or immigration status.
What is the most critical issue facing the district?
Educating ALL students and providing them necessary resources to achieve both academic, and social-emotional, success will continue to be the critical issue.
District 4 Candidates
Janny Catlin Meyer is the incumbent and has lived in District 4 for over 50 years. Contact her at Jannymeyer@sbcglobal.net.
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What mental & emotional health services should be offered?
Offered at each school: Mental Health Coordinator, increased Counselors, Psychologists and Community Liaisons. PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) at every school.
Is “open enrollment school choice” a good idea?
I support open enrollment. Parent choice gives opportunities to find the best fit for their children to excel in the area of their strengths.
What is the importance of the Dual Immersion Program?
Dual Immersion programs prepare students to compete in the global job market and provide opportunities to learn another language and honor other cultures.
Do you support a day of recognition for Cesar Chavez?
As part of the California History Curriculum, the contributions of Cesar Chavez should be taught and recognized.
Are educational resources equal between schools in wealthy & low income areas?
Schools are funded based on need. Allocations are based on Federal and Local Control Funding Formula Funds. Nine of our schools receive Title 1 funding.
How should the district support immigrant and undocumented students?
Students are admitted to school and participate in all programs regardless of immigration status. We have a legal and moral commitment to educate all children.
What is the most critical issue facing the district?
Engaging all students in learning in a safe environment is a critical issue for ALL districts and one that needs careful attention and focus.
Shana Charles is a Dept. of Public Health Professor at CSUF and has lived in District 4 for over 3 years in. Visit www.shana4schoolboard.com.
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What mental & emotional health services should be offered?
Children with conditions must have school-focused therapy, supportive teachers, trained administrators. All students should have self-regulation and self-efficacy tools, like meditation, to promote emotional health.
Is “open enrollment school choice” a good idea?
Fullerton’s current system provides a fair way for parents to access preferred schools. We should keep it, but also improve schools with declining enrollment.
What is the importance of the Dual Immersion Program?
Dual Immersion provides an excellent option to parents looking to foster bilingualism in their children. If successful, it could be broadened throughout the District.
Do you support a day of recognition for Cesar Chavez?
Yes. This holiday honors a social justice hero, and is already recognized by CSU and California. The vote last year to deny it frustrated me.
Are educational resources equal between schools in wealthy & low income areas?
No, in many aspects. Resources seem siloed by school, whether by specific grants or requested parent donations. We can do better to improve educational equality.
How should the district support immigrant and undocumented students?
Language services, case management, connections to NGO support, safe spaces in schools – we must be a caring community to all learners.
What is the most critical issue facing the district?
Building connections across our communities, among schools, within school resident boundaries, and among Fullerton’s other governing bodies. When all this improves, enrollment will improve systemwide.
Fullerton Joint Union High School District Board Candidates
The Fullerton Joint Union High School District is divided into five areas, as shown here.
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District 4 Candidates
Nathan Vestri is a CSUF student and a part-time temporary employee of FJUHSD. He has lived in District 4 for over 15 years.
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What mental & emotional health services should be offered?
Students in our district should have access to onsite licensed professionals at any time and should be encouraged to see them to fight stigmas.
How can we prepare students for career & college readiness?
Our district allows students to choose a path that trains them on cutting edge knowledge for that field. e.g. Troy Cyber Defense, FAotA, FFA.
What would you use Bond Measure I money for?
The bond should be used to update our facilities for the students and teachers, so that cutting-edge teaching can be side-by-side with cutting-edge environments.
How important is upgrading Plummer Auditorium?
Plummer, our seal’s symbol, is a wealth of both knowledge and income opportunities for our students and community. We must keep it top notch.
Do you support Charter Schools?
I do not support charter schools. They siphon funds from public schools, are often unstable, and unequal throughout the country often leading to closures.
How should the district support immigrant & undocumented students?
Children, whether citizens or not, should be allowed to go to our schools so they can learn good American values and paths to citizenship.
What is the most critical issue facing the district?
Communication between the many hands of the district is critical. There seems to be times where communication falls short and it hurts the district.
Mike Oates is a businessman and parent. He has lived in District for for 45 years. He has raised $3,048 of which $2,000 is from John Phelps whose family foundation makes significant contributions to local charities such as the Boys and Girls Club. Mr. Oates’s largest expenditure is $1,290 for yard signs. Visit www.OatesForSchoolBoard.com.
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What mental & emotional health services should be offered?
Maintaining mental health services as an integral part of our public schools. Accessible counseling for at-risk students helps remove psychological barriers and encourages student learning and development.
How can we prepare students for career & college readiness?
Though the district currently offers a myriad of academic, fine art and elective courses, I’d like to see more campus-wide programs focused on “life-skills” learning.
What would you use Bond Measure I money for?
Bond money should be used on long-term projects such as campus infrastructure, paying close attention to the useful life of these projects and the responsibilities associated with long-term borrowing.
How important is upgrading Plummer Auditorium?
Investing in Plummer Auditorium, the historical fixture of fine arts in Fullerton, is crucial. We should be taking full advantage of this theatrical landmark.
Do you support Charter Schools?
As a businessman, I’ve always believed in healthy competition. The possibility of charter school presence should be a motivator for our public schools to provide the best education possible for all students.
How should the district support immigrant & undocumented students?
Immigration status should be a matter regulated by other government entities, not the school board. If a student is enrolled in our school district, we teach them.
What is the most critical issue facing the district?
Solvency. We have a great district with great opportunities. We need to make sure those opportunities will be there next year, the year after, and beyond.
Chris Thompson is an implant dentistry manager. He has lived in District 4 for 19 years. Contact him at cstfullerton@gmail.com.
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What mental & emotional health services should be offered?
Proactive counseling and mental health referral services which always seek to inform and empower parents to take the lead on their child’s needs.
How can we prepare students for career & college readiness?
Fullerton schools are highly focused on college readiness and admissions. We should always seek to improve career training in all practical, high demand fields.
What would you use Bond Measure I money for?
Taxpayers will pay $86 million for $47million in improvements. While I oppose new taxes, this allocated money should be used for infrastructure as approved by voters.
How important is upgrading Plummer Auditorium?
Plummer is an educationally and culturally valuable asset, but it is no more or less important than maintaining all critical infrastructure that serves students.
Do you support Charter Schools?
Absolutely. Educational choices and creative approaches to education with the reduced influence of self-serving special interests are beneficial to kids and the public good.
How should the district support immigrant & undocumented students?
All students should be treated equally. It is already illegal to consider immigration status in California public schools. Immigration policy is out of District hands.
What is the most critical issue facing the district?
Special interest influence and its detrimental impact on students and taxpayers. This issue is central to virtually all impediments to improving financial and educational approaches.
Lauren Klatzker is a Special Ed Program Specialist. She has lived in District 4 for over 6 years in. She has raised $10,194, spent $6,561, and has $3,632 remaining unspent as of the latest filing. Her largest contributor is the California Secondary Teachers who have contributed $3,000 to Klatzker and have also purchased signs reported as a non-monetary contribution valued at $1,656. Her largest expenditure is $2,725 for campaign literature. Visit www.laurenforschoolboard.com.
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What mental & emotional health services should be offered?
Teachers need to identify warning signs. School counselors and psychologists must be available. FJUHSD could contract with local universities for mental health interns.
How can we prepare students for career & college readiness?
Rigorous coursework is needed for college readiness and/or a career path. (CTE) pathways expansions allow students to receive certificates and transition to college.
What would you use Bond Measure I money for?
Make classrooms, performing arts venues, and sports facilities state of the art.
How important is upgrading Plummer Auditorium?
Plummer Auditorium is iconic. FJUHSD must keep this historic building in the best condition possible. The district and community should explore options together.
Do you support Charter Schools?
I do not support for profit charter schools. For profit charter schools make money at the expense of our students and our communities.
How should the district support immigrant & undocumented students?
There needs to be a variety of programs to support the academic progress of English learners. Coordination with community resources also will help students.
What is the most critical issue facing the district?
We need to prepare students for college and careers, address school safety by working with law enforcement, and ensure parent representation on the board.
District 1 Candidates
Regina Cuadra is a parent and volunteer. She has lived in District 1 for 20 years.
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What mental & emotional health services should be offered?
The District can support students’ emotional needs through counseling and programs directed at developing the whole student including their overall mental health.
How can we prepare students for career & college readiness?
Creating a strong foundation in collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking can help students move forward and adapt to an ever shifting job market.
What would you use Bond Measure I money for?
Further spending of bond money should be spent to ensure that school facilities are prepared to meet current and future needs of students and community.
How important is upgrading Plummer Auditorium?
It is a very important historical part of our city and school district. Plummer Auditorium’s preservation is worthy of consideration for all parties involved.
Do you support Charter Schools?
No. Public education is a service and our students are not for sale. Increase support at existing schools and improve public education.
How should the district support immigrant & undocumented students?
On a case by case basis. All students attending school should feel safe and protected and focus on the main goal which is learning.
What is the most critical issue facing the district?
Student literacy levels entering the district. Creating an articulation bridge between elementary districts and high schools to ensure consistency and quality for our students.
Chester Jeng is a dentist, attorney, and educator. He has lived in District 1 for over 1 year. Visit www.Drjengforschools.com.
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What mental & emotional health services should be offered?
Our district should work with post graduate candidates in Clinical Psychology and set up a mental/ emotional health care clinic at our schools where these post grad students would be monitored by our school therapists.
How can we prepare students for career & college readiness?
I would like to see additional College Counseling and SAT Prep Courses, College Fairs, and cooperation with local businesses allowing our ROP students to get hands on training for the skills they have learned.
What would you use Bond Measure I money for?
The Measure I money is being used adequately right now with improvements of our schools.
How important is upgrading Plummer Auditorium?
Improving the Plummer Auditorium should have the same priority as our other improvement programs.
Do you support Charter Schools?
Our district does not need any Charter Schools. Our district has a reputation of providing quality education and programs. Charter Schools would not benefit our community at all.
How should the district support immigrant & undocumented students?
Our district treats all students that live within our boundary the same. Every child deserves an education.
What is the most critical issue facing the district?
There are always critical issues in every district, and our district is the same. I would say new teacher recruitment and keeping our current experienced teachers with us is the most critical issue in our district.
District 5 Candidates
Marilyn Buchi is the incumbent and has lived in District 5 for 53 years. Contact her at pvmar@aol.com.
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What mental & emotional health services should be offered?
District counselors and psychologists assist. Outside professionals are contacted when necessary. Staff is trained to look for and refer students in stress. Restorative practices help.
How can we prepare students for career & college readiness?
Schools provide a broad curriculum of academics, the arts, and career technical education. Challenging students and engaging them supports their future.
What would you use Bond Measure I money for?
Every school is getting a major project of their need and choice. An oversight committee assures that money is used as promised to the community.
How important is upgrading Plummer Auditorium?
Plummer is on track for seismic work when promised state money is released. The auditorium is a community treasure needing millions of dollars of care.
Do you support Charter Schools?
I strongly oppose Charter Schools in our district. There is no place for charter schools in excellent districts such as ours — where all students are served.
How should the district support immigrant & undocumented students?
We do not request a student’s status. Every student is supported, with extra resources going to students with extraordinary need.
What is the most critical issue facing the district?
Inadequate state funding!
Bridget D. Vornholt is a University Recruitment Liaison. She has lived in District 5 for 25 years.
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What mental & emotional health services should be offered?
With the number of students exhibiting emotional and mental health issues, we need to provide comprehensive services – social workers, psychologists, school nurses, counsellors.
How can we prepare students for career & college readiness?
Providing AP, IB, honors, career and technical education programs, ROP and ability to cross enroll in our local community colleges are current opportunities.
What would you use Bond Measure I money for?
Work to ensure that facilities meet safety standards and continue to meet the needs of the students and surrounding community.
How important is upgrading Plummer Auditorium?
Plummer is an historic and classic building. It is important to do what we can to preserve and update the building.
Do you support Charter Schools?
No. Charter schools erode the open access public schools in a community. I believe our public schools are too important to risk in this manner.
How should the district support immigrant & undocumented students?
Since 1984 schools are required to enroll eligible children regardless of citizenship or immigration status so students should have the same educational opportunities.
What is the most critical issue facing the district?
Building bridges with the wider community, providing transparency, and engaging with more stakeholders like parents and teachers.
Be sure to vote on November 6th! Your vote counts!

 

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