Not Clearly Pro or Con: "To determine the impact of separation on SMMUSD and Santa Monica we are currently looking into hiring a consultant to work with the District’s Financial Oversight Committee (FOC).
The key financial questions revolve around unraveling the voter approved indebtedness of bonds and parcel taxes. A key question to answer is will Santa Monica end up with less resources to implement its educational program? Also, assuming Malibu becomes a basic aid district will they be able to sustain a separate district? Also, recent environmental concerns in Malibu will require an environmental analysis of the impact of separation involving the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Furthermore, there will be issues with staffing patterns and teachers in Malibu can have bumping rights if they choose to stay within the Santa Monica Unified School District. Lastly, we need to determine the distribution of real assets such as equipment, property etc. If it is determined that the impact on Santa Monica is positive and the voters in Malibu approve the separation, then I believe this proposal will receive more interest in Santa Monica. Regardless of the outcome, I will continue to do my part in providing collaborative leadership and ensuring that residents in both communities are treated with dignity and respect."
Con: "I am the only school board member that has consistently called for comprehensive testing to ensure that our schools are safe from hazardous toxins. The school district is following the EPA's direction on this issue but the EPA does not provide clarity on the level of testing that should be conducted. On the other hand the federal government has stated that PCB's found above 50 ppm must be remediated. This is a major contradiction and I am supporting testing to know the truth and to keep our students and staff safe."
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "It all depends. There are times when the Board needs to protect parent's and student's rights from staff who might be on a power trip. I stood with special education parents and students who were being forced to sign gag orders in order to receive services."
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "I have pushed or restorative justice as a model to move our discipline policies in the right direction. Let's get rid of the problem, not the child. Also, we have zero tolerance for violence, harassment, weapons and drug sales. I support that."
Pro: "We need to do a better job of educating the public on the great work of centralized funding and VSS. I am proposing a tour of the schools with greatest need to create a new level of awareness of the needs of our south side schools."
Con: "There are various promising initiatives but we are barely starting the see the investment that should have happened years ago. I think we need to invest in more culturally relevant curriculum and pedagogy. Academic support such as tutoring, peer to peer mentoring and parent engagement and training need to see improvements. Institutional change requires consistent leadership from the top and that is why I am running for re-election. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on who you ask, systems change incrementally. I find that very frustrating but I knew the job was hard when I decided to work within the system."
I am a PROUD PRODUCT of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District. While serving as Student Body President at Santa Monica High I decided to commit my life to public service. I have a MA DEGREE in public administration and twelve years of governance experience on the school board. As PRESIDENT of the School Board in 2007-08 I:
Ensured every school met academic performance targets.
Led efforts to improve special education and district-wide recycling policies.
Worked in partnership with Santa Monica and Malibu City leaders to increase public school funding.
A father of two children, I am committed to providing excellent public schools for future generations. I am FOUNDER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of a youth center. As a former counselor at Santa Monica High and youth center director I have a personal commitment to serving our students.
I am a PROVEN LEADER who will:
Ensure resources are invested in the classroom versus administrative overhead.
Alleviate the tax burden on residents by seeking creative funding options.
Support Music and the Arts.
Our students deserve EXPERIENCED LEADERSHIP on the School Board. Re-elect OSCAR DE LA TORRE, a leader we can count on to move the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District forward.