Wednesday, July 18 , 2018, 3:24 pm | Mostly Cloudy 72º


Letter to the Editor: All SB School Board Candidates Should Release Questionnnaire Answers

A few weeks ago, the Santa Barbara Teachers Association asked me to complete its questionnaire if I wanted to receive its endorsement. Although I knew it was highly unlikely that the local union would endorse me, I thought I owed the teachers association a detailed explanation of my positions regarding the issues important to the union.

Since I am proposing numerous educational reforms, many of the questions addressed were highly relevant and important. For example, the union asked my views about merit pay, paying teachers based on test scores, tenure, seniority, charter schools and vouchers. I did my best to thoughtfully answer the questions without patronizing them or couching my positions to win their endorsement.

I presume all the candidates for the school board completed the questionnaire. Inasmuch as all board members will have to collectively bargain with the union for teachers’ wages, benefits and work rules in two short years, all issues important to the voters, taxpayers, parents and students, I think it would be very beneficial to make these completed questionnaires public. Voters have the right to know what was promised to the union and whether board members can act independently and impartially.

We know that people running for public office will sometimes provide answers to special interest groups that are quite different from what they are willing to say publicly. The real question is, will these candidates represent the voters or the teachers union?

I ask my opponents, Ed Heron, Gayle Eidelson and Pedro Paz, to release their questionnaires to Noozhawk so they can be published. Private communication between the candidates and the teachers union should be made public to alleviate any concern that any board member’s objectivity may be compromised. Click here to read my answers to the questionnaire.

I hope all candidates for the Santa Barbara school board will release their completed questionnaires. The voters can decide the intent of any candidate who chooses not to do so.

On another note, I would like to inform the public that at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Louise Lowry Davis Center, 1232 De la Vina St., the League of Women Voters will be holding the first debate for the candidates for the Santa Barbara school board. If the state of public education is of concern to you, it may be quite illuminating to see all the candidates debating the issues.

Click here to learn more about my positions, priorities and political philosophy.

Lou Segal, candidate
Santa Barbara school board

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