Ventura County Board of Education candidates want constituents to know their platforms

MARTY BATES

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MIKE TEASDALE

 Why are you running for position on the Ventura County Board of Education?

I am running for office because I want to increase the opportunities for our children to get high paying jobs and to ensure our most vulnerable children (children with disabilities, foster children, kids with behavioral problems, migrant children) get our best effort to ensure they have the education necessary for a rewarding and independent career and become productive citizens.  I am inspired my children who overcome obstacles to achieve their goals.

What qualifies you for that position?

I have the diverse experience and skills needed for the role of a Ventura County Board of Education trustee.  The board has responsibilities that include the oversight of career technical education, professional development for teachers, services for children with disabilities, technology in the classroom, charter school authorization, financial oversight of the local districts, and much more.  I have experience as a high school teacher, as Senior Director in Operations at Baxter, Inc. and co-chair of a local non –profit that funds youth projects that help the quality of, and access to, education. My experience in the classroom, and with managing large budgets and organizations as well as my practical team building skills needed to get things done, will serve me well on the Board.  

If elected, what are your main goals?

My goals are to (1) Ensure the safety of our children from cyber bullying and random violence, (2) increase the number of apprenticeships so our kids who decide not to go on to college get more skills and opportunities for good paying jobs, (3) Improve the transparency and outreach to parents from the County Office of Education, (4) Advocate for more teachers for early childhood education and more teachers with special skills such as Speech pathologists to ensure our kids have the support they need to succeed, and (5) use our tax dollars wisely and effectively.

 Why should constituents vote for you over other candidates? What do you bring to the table that no other candidate can?

The diversity of experience I bring to board is unique and will enable me to address with confidence all the different responsibilities of a Trustee.  I have been endorsed by those who know the job: Chuck Weis, former Superintendent of Ventura County Schools; the Unified Association of Conejo Teachers; Ellen Smith, former superintendent of Moorpark Unified School District; among many others.  My connections to local business will help me create programs so our kids are trained for good jobs and have productive careers. I will bring fresh ideas to a role that have been occupied for 24 years by one person.

What do you see as the main problem the county is facing (as pertaining to education)?

We have a gap in our educational system for children who do not go on to college.  We need to help these children with more skills and training so they have better careers and our local work force attracts new companies and jobs.  The incumbent from our district has been there for 24 years – we need new ideas and fresh energy.

 What are your ideas to mediate/solve that problem?

I will increase apprenticeships not only for trade jobs such as construction workers, plumbers, and HVAC technicians but expand them to include machine operators and factory workers.   Our children have opportunities for good jobs in the Biotech and precision manufacturing industries if we train them well. I will bring new energy to the role of Trustee from the Conejo Valley and advocate for excellence in every aspect of our children’s education.

 

PAULA NATHAN

Why are you running for position on the Ventura County Board of Education?

I am running for the Ventura County Board of Education to rebuild the bridge between the VCBOE and the districts that are served in Area 2.  The two largest districts in our area are the CVUSD and Oak Park Unified. Area 2 includes the communities of Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Hidden Valley, Lake Sherwood, Oak Park, CSUCI, Santa Rosa Valley, Bell Canyon, Somis, Las Posas Valley, Naval Base VC, Point Mugu, Portions of Oxnard Plain and South Coast.  We have been represented by the same Trustee for 24 years.  That Trustee says “no report” at the meetings, and does not visit school sites.  I will change that. I will be the voice for our students, teachers, families, and districts.

What qualifies you for that position?

I have been advocating for education for over 13 years.  There is not a day that I am not in a school or working on behalf school.  It is my life. I serve on five education related boards in Ventura County including:

Board Member of the Conejo Schools Foundation

Special Education District Advisory Council school representative

Thousand Oaks High School PTSA- President

Conejo Council of PTAs (oversees all PTAs in the Conejo Valley, Oak Park, and Los Virgenes) – Past President, Current Vice President of Leadership

12th District PTA (oversees all PTAs in Ventura County)- Vice President of Membership

Member of American Association of University Women

If elected, what are your main goals?

 

First and foremost, I will increase the pipelines of communication between the board, students, families. and districts that are served.  I will report at the County meeting on successes and issues at our area districts. I will set up forums at school sites so students, teachers, and families can communicate how things are going at their schools.  I will do the same for our charter schools in our community. We have 3 in the Conejo Valley that report directly to the VCBOE. My first action when elected will be to request that board meetings be recorded so that those at home may also see meetings.

Second, I will cheer for Career Technical Education (CTE).  CTE classes are free for EVERY high school student and includes transportation.  Classes can be taken during the school day and also in the evenings. Students can take classes like coding, Veterinary technician, film and television makeup, and many more.  CTE classes can give our students and edge on college applications by giving them real world training and experience in a field they would like to study in college. I am the only candidate and would be the only board member that has a student currently attending classes at the Career Education Center in Camarillo.  I am on that campus two nights a week seeing the needs of the program first hand.

Third,  I will advocate for funding on the local and state levels.  I have done this for years, meeting with our elected officials in Sacramento.  We are just now recovering from the devastating cuts to education from recession.  We need to continue on our path of increased funding. With increase in funding, I want to see art and music programs at every school, at every level.  In K-5 education, dedicated classrooms for art and music are largely missing, and being left to either classroom teachers to teach, or parent funded programs.  We can do better. Our kids deserve more. When it comes to education, our students deserve a complete package.

Why should constituents vote for you over other candidates? What do you bring to the table that no other candidate can?

The VCBOE serves over 6000 students of their own and have a unique population of students.  Students served include special education with more severe needs, incarcerated, expelled, Career Technincal Education, and charter school.  Over 60% of the population served are special education students.

I am the only candidate running and would be the only board member that has a special needs student.  My daughter attends Foundation level Special Day Classes (SDC) at Thousand Oaks High School. When the majority of the cases coming through the VCBOE coming through deal with Special Education, it is imperative to have someone on that board that knows what that road is like first hand.  Also the world of Special Education involves around the Individual Educational Plan (IEP). It is important to know the intricacies of that process. I know it inside and out. I would be an excellent voice for the families on the special needs road.

I am the only candidate running that attends EVERY board meeting of the Conejo Valley Unified School District, the largest district that Area 2 serves.  I have done this for years, watching first-hand the successes and problems of our district. There is no other candidate who can communicate and represent our district at the county the way that I can.  My attendance has also taught me board procedures including the California Open Meeting Law (AKA the Brown Act), and how to be an effective Trustee. I also attend all meetings of the District Advisory Council (DAC), Special Education District Advisory Council (SEDAC), and School Site Council (SSC).

I am the only candidate running that has a student who attended a charter school.  My daughter attended a charter school for her K-5 education. I spent 40+ hours a week at school working with teachers and administrators to make our school a success.  Charters in Ventura County are for the most part authorized by the VCBOE. It is important to have a board member who understands the responsibilities of charter schools, and why parents make a choice to go there.

It is important to have a  Trustee that truly cares about education, is relatable to the public, and is well entrenched in current education.  I am in the schools or supporting schools every day. When you look at schools from the inside, you can see what they truly need.

As I wrote about above, I am the only candidate and would be the only board member that has a student that takes Career Technical Education classes.  I see that program from the inside.

All the budgets that I have overseen have been education related budgets.  It is important to know that the board of education does not write budgets, the staff does.  The VCBOE asks questions and approves the budget. Familiarity with EDUCATION budgets is important.

What do you see as the main problem the county is facing (as pertaining to education)?

Funding.  Funding issues are a problem in every district in our state.  At the county level, they are affected in some unique ways. Special Education is extremely expensive and was largely left out of Proposition 30 which paved the way for the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).  Bills are just now being worked on at the state level to bring new funding streams for Special Education. Transportation of foster youth is extremely expensive. Students who have been placed with a foster family in another community have the right to keep attending their school of origin, which is a large cost both including time spent for logistics.  State funding grants for Career Technical Education have greatly dwindled in the last four years and we compete for those funds in a large area that goes all the way up to San Luis Obispo.  The pool of money used to be $400 million dollars and has now dwindled to $150 million and is not distributed in a timely manner.

What are your ideas to mediate/solve that problem?  

Funding streams have to be increased at the state level.  As the elected official for the VCBOE for Area 2, because of my first-hand experiences, I am uniquely qualified to advocate for our specialized needs at the state.  I have advocated in Sacramento and the local level for years. Being an elected Trustee will give me a stronger voice to have our needs listened to and met. When we fund our specialized programs, this opens up funding streams for general education.  Education is a puzzle, and I’m a problem solver.

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