Sherryl L. Parks | Kalamath Drive
One of the more heated elections this fall is the race to fill three seats for the Del Mar Union School Board. Five candidates are running: Kristin Gibson, 41 an educational consultant and parent, Jason Maletic, 39, small –business owner, Steven McDowell, 51 incumbent, parent, Douglas Rafner, 46, attorney/mediator/parent and Scott Wooden, 48 scientist/parent.
Four years ago a slate of candidates was elected with an attitude of reforming. Their desire to change the leadership at the top resulted in firing two superintendents. Public scrutiny led to the League of Women Voters sending a volunteer to observe the board meetings, which went long into the night. Additional concerns about the direction taken by the recent board occurred when a popular school was threatened to be closed causing parents and students to become more involved.
Marsha Sutton, an award-winning local columnist, on Oct. 15 reported in the Del Mar Times, North County issue, a thorough review of the recent worries about this board. She noted that the slate of Rafner, Gibson and Wooden will likely be able to renew confidence in the schools because they offer parents a healthy diversity of viewpoints, new enthusiasm for leading as well as the endorsement from the teacher’s union.
Whoever is elected to fill the seats, big issues are facing this newly elected board most notably the relocation of the district offices. The lease agreement with the City of Del Mar will end soon and the district has been looking outside the City of Del Mar.
For us, we locals will likely lose the convenience of having the district offices so close to home. In fact, it feels a lot like we’ve lost the small town control over these public schools. Perhaps the growing pains of the last few years have been adjusting to this new reality.