Endorsements: Novasel, Bannar and Kemper best choices for school board
With enrollment numbers apparently stabilizing after years of decline, Lake Tahoe Unified School District board members are breathing a little easier these days.
But school board member Sue Novasel, who is running for a second term in the Nov. 6 election, said the improving enrollment figures are no accident.
The district has fought to attract and keep students through its Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet School, the Spanish-English language immersion program and the Independent Learning Academy.
Parents seeking such programs for their children no longer must move to the Bay Area or elsewhere to find them, she said, and the programs may also appeal to those who have been home schooling their children.
Boosting enrollment, along with trimming upper-level administration, has improved the district’s financial picture, she said.
We like Novasel’s businesslike approach to the school district, and we are endorsing her along with incumbent Barbara Bannar, who is also seeking a second term. Six candidates are running for three seats on the five-member board.
Bannar said now that the district is more fiscally sound, she will focus on the academic side of the equation, especially by raising test scores to meet requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. She said the district’s successes during her first term also include hiring Superintendent Jim Tarwater and completing the Community Youth Sports Complex, a collaboration between the district and community.
Our third endorsement in the school board race goes to Lauri Kemper, an engineer with the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Although she’s an engineer, Kemper described much of her work as facilitating and negotiating with other agencies, such as the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Those are valuable skills for a school board member.
We also like Kemper’s call for more openness from the district. For example, she said much of the divisiveness that arose the last time contracts were negotiated with teachers could have been averted if the district made its financial situation clear at the outset – rather than releasing information a little at a time.
Among the other three candidates, Michael Doyle is well-known in the community from his 14 years as a pediatrician in South Lake Tahoe. Doyle says his work has given him insight into children and parents.
Larry Green, a math instructor at Lake Tahoe Community College, would bring the perspective of higher education to the board. With his math training and analytical nature, Green said he gets excited looking at budgets.
Jill Sanders has volunteered in the district as an art teacher, and displays an empathy for students who aren’t fitting in, either academically or socially. She said she’d work to keep kids from “getting lost” in the system.