Four years ago our community came a few votes short of taking a sharp turn South. In 2006 the Teacher's Association of Long Beach under the direction of then Executive Director Scott McVarish made the decision to take over the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Directors. Determined to win the three seats up for election in the cycle the union board put the TALB into severe debt and ran three candidates for office. In one contest current LBUSD board member David Barton, backed by TALB, defeated incumbent Jim Choura. In another contest TALB managed to get Michael Ellis on the ballot in a race that was vacated by then incumbent Suja Lowenthal as she gave up the school board race to run instead for the City Council seat vacated by Dan Baker. Though not eligible for the ballot because of residency requirements, City Attorney Bob Shannon let him on the ballot anyway. With no opposition Ellis won the election. Ellis subsequently was busted a few times for DUI, almost never showed up for board meetings and was a disgrace to the LBUSD as well as the hard working teachers in the district whose hard earned money went into his campaign.
In the third race incumbent Mary Stanton barely beat the TALB challenger. The race was close and it went to a re-count, paid for by TALB as they tried to squeeze out a third victory and control of the school district. Paramount among their agenda items was firing Superintendent Chris Steinhauser and installing a teacher's union friendly Administration. Thankfully Mary prevailed.
On April 13th Mary will once again face a challenger that is backed and supported by TALB. Jeff Price's list of supporters reads like a Who's Who list of Long Beach Democrats who are tied to public employee unions and not its residents, including 7th District Councilwoman Tonia Reyes-Uranga who is running a write in campaign to retain her seat, and her husband Roberto Uranga who is supported by the employee unions at Long Beach City College. Essentially Price's list of supporters reads like a political insider not a member of the community, someone who will follow the party line and be beholden to public employees' unions and not the residents of his district. It is as if Mary is running against the local Democratic political machine and its allies.
Long Beach Unified School District has seen its revenue from the state decline by over $100 million in the past few years. The LBUSD has not control over its revenue, it is dependent upon Sacramento and is subject to the political process of the state budget negotiations. The results of these negotiations have not been favorable to K-12 schools as you are award. Throughout the declining revenue Mary Stanton has worked hard and honestly with fellow board members Jon Meyer, Felton Williams, David Barton and new comer John McGinnis who replaced Ellis when he resigned.
As President of the LBUSD Board of Education, Mary has led the district through extremely difficult budget cuts and staffing reductions. Holding off as long as possible through the past few years to keep the budget cuts out of the classroom, this year the LBUSD has had to send out notices to hundreds of teachers that they may be laid off at the end of the school year. With the political climate and desire to not cut spending where it needs to be cut in Sacramento it should be expected that LBUSD's revenue will again decline in the coming year. Our district needs experienced, level headed and unbiased leadership to ensure the ability to continue the quality education our children receive.
During Mary's tenure on the Board of Education LBUSD has won the prestigious Broad Award for urban school education excellence and been a finalist several times. Test scores have improved while funding has decreased. Parents of many students graduating from LBUSD high schools save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in college tuition from scholarships and from college credits their children earned through Advanced Placement courses. My kids are in the LBUSD system and I look forward to their continuing through high school receiving excellent education every year.
Mary Stanton is a proven leader, advocate for students, a former teacher who knows and understands what teachers face in classrooms and a solid member of our community.
Disclaimer! Several months ago Mary called me to ask if I would be the Treasurer for her campaign and I readily agreed. I agreed because I respect and admire Mary not only as a member of our school board and the work she has done, but as a person as well. She is honest, she is committed to improving the lives of my children and yours, she is intelligent and she is kind--not always adjectives used for people running for public office. I am proud to be associated with Mary and her campaign and hope you too align yourself with her effort to be re-elected.
I wholeheartedly endorse and support Mary Stanton for Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education in the election April 13, 2010.
Please join me in this support, visit Mary's site (link below) and donate a few bucks for the future of all students in Long Beach and their future. Please, if you are concerned about the future of education in our city do not be a bystander, be involved, donate a few dollars and help re-elect Mary Stanton.
For those in the area Leslie and I will be holding a meet and greet for Mary next Monday, March 22nd, in the late evening at our home. If you are interested in attending please contact me for details.
Mary Stanton For School Board 2010 website.
Price's list of supporters.