There are times in campaigns when one wishes there were as many open seats as there were candidates. The three-person race for two spots on the Sequoia Union High School District Board of Trustees is one of those times. But there are two open seats and they are currently filled by Alan Sarver and Chris Thomsen. Challenging them is Georgia Jack, who has a wealth of ideas, a broad base of community support and a keen sense of the issues facing the district. However, the two incumbents, Sarver and Thomsen, share those same qualities and also have four years of board experience under their belts. The district is going through significant change through a new state funding formula, which presents its own unique challenges because it is funded through its own tax revenue but represents areas that would benefit from additional state funding. It is also contending with the new Common Core curriculum, which will create its own challenges for all schools — but particularly for those as diverse as the ones in the district. There is a tremendous need to ensure both staff and students are ready for the change to computer-based assessments and that the district stay ahead of the curve. There is also new staff at the district administration level and the potential for relatively significant boundary changes or new facilities and the possibility of a bond measure to pay for whatever changes are made.
That’s a lot of heavy lifting and both Sarver and Thomsen have proven worthy in their ability to do such lifting in the past four years. Both have a sense of the philosophy behind education and applying that philosophy to everyday situations that don’t necessarily align themselves with theory. They also have a tremendous grasp of the unique challenges — both fiscal or otherwise — of the district with its four traditional high schools, continuation school, adult school and charter schools.
They both deserve the opportunity to manage the tremendous amount of change the district faces as they have for the last four years. Jack also brings a lot to the table and should be encouraged to stay involved in the discussion and direction of the district. She would be a tremendous asset to the board, just not as a replacement for either Sarver or Thomsen.