The San Carlos Elementary School District is, like school districts across the state, facing a number of changes to both its curriculum and funding. With the advent of Common Core standards, schools must adjust to new ways of assessing children and make sure teachers have the right tools before the standards are implemented. With the advent of the Local Control Funding Formula, there will be a widespread change to how school districts plan their budgets.
In San Carlos, the district is also facing significant change in how it implements its facilities master plan, made possible through a $72 million bond measure, and required because of ever-growing enrollment. Managing this change is no small task and there have been some bumps when it comes to communication and implementation. However, the current board has conducted itself well and tried to be resolute and responsive to the community as a whole.
There are four people running for three open seats on the Board of Trustees. Board President Beth Hunkapiller is not running for re-election and appointed trustees Carol Elliott and Kathleen Farley are running. Both Elliott and Farley were appointed when Mark Olbert was elected to the San Carlos City Council and Carrie DuBois was elected to the Sequoia Union High School District in November. Both have come up to speed quickly and have responsible stewards of the community trust in this time of significant change. With Common Core and its need for technology, both have an eye on ensuring its implementation is appropriate and has the proper level of staff development. Both also see the need for transparency and communication.
Joining them in the race are Nicole Bergeron and Sarah Steifel. Bergeron emphasizes the need for additional forms of communication. She has some level of concern about the board’s work in committees and, while she understands it is an effective way to move forward on certain decisions, would like to see the reporting of that work be done in a more inclusive way that involves perspectives from the community as a whole. That sentiment is key when it comes to the number of issues the board is currently addressing and will address in the future. Steifel has concerns with how the district reconfigured grade levels to meet enrollment challenges. We would have liked to have heard more from her in this campaign and hope she will continue to press the district and the board as it makes future decisions.
With three slots available on the board, the best choices are Bergeron, Elliott and Farley. The latter two will provide a sense of continuity while still retaining their relatively fresh points of view. Bergeron will provide a sense of dedication while emphasizing the need for community input as big decisions are made. The San Carlos Elementary School District is well run, with a wealth of educational opportunities for its children. Bergeron, Elliott and Farley offer the best chance to retain that path while the district plans for the future.