Sherryl L. Parks | Kalamath Drive
Three new board members, Karen Gibson, an educator, Doug Rafner, an attorney and Scott Wooden, a scientist, will be sworn in to the Del Mar Union School Board on Wednesday December 8. The previous board, elected in 2006, created concerns with the public, staff and teachers in their four years of leadership. Included in their concerns were the firing of two superintendents; sluggishness in implementing enrichment programs; lack of decision on the site for the District Offices; as well as, a threat of closing a popular neighborhood school. In the November election voters wanted a change.
The Sandpiper asked the three newly elected board members what they are planning to do with the challenges facing the district. What are your top priorities?
- All three mentioned the need to restore relationships. The board needs to build respect with staff, teachers and the school site councils. Karen Gibson will “Gather input from all the stakeholders in creating a long-range plan for the district.”
- Settle the location of the new District Office. Doug Rafter reports that “The timeline under our current lease is quickly approaching and the rental rate will increase dramatically if the district remains in its current location.”
- Settle the pending lawsuit with former Superintendent McClain. Attorney Rafner first wants to get “ a complete understanding of all the facts surrounding the claim.”
- Create long-range plan taking into consideration the passage of Prop. C knowing the district will be growing both South and East and so we need to plan for the future.
Scott Wooden mentioned that he is eager to “personally take advantage of learning opportunities” provided new school board members. What exactly is the role of a school board? Basically it is to set policy, hire the superintendent and approve the budget. Looks like Scott will be taking advantage of California School Board Boot camp.
Former School Board President Steven McDowell was asked what he thinks the new board should prioritize. Among his suggestions was the need for this board to keep the commitment that Del Mar would not close any schools, and to bring back enrichment programs. “If there are increases to the salary schedules it will take dollars away from the ability to bring back those programs and teachers. Hopefully a higher priority on jobs versus compensation will come out of strategic planning.”
Let’s be patient with this newly elected school board. It will take time for them to gain the complete facts about all the issues, to learn to work together, and to familiarize themselves with 8 public schools now in the Del Mar Union School District. 2011 will be an important growing year for this newly elected school board.