Races take shape for school board, college district
August 15, 2009
The filing period for candidates running in local races in the Nov. 3 election ended this week, and the campaign season is getting under way.
All incumbents whose terms are expiring will run for Lake Tahoe Unified School District Board and Lake Tahoe Community College Board of Trustees, with a challenger in each of the races.
LTUSD challenger Judy Cefalu said she’s interested in the future of the school district. A lot of families are leaving because jobs are scarce, and the district is facing serious budget issues because of the state.
“That’s the part that got me interested (in running),” Cefalu said. “There’s got to be a way we can help.”
Cefalu was on the board of Court Appointed Special Advocates of El Dorado County for nine years, and is a member of the Barton Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.
She’s raised three children who graduated from South Tahoe High School and now has five grandchildren in the district.
Recommended Stories For You
Cefalu said both of her opponents are good people.
“We have a great community,” Cefalu said. “It just requires work to make it better.”
Incumbent Duane Wallace also threw his hat into the ring. Wallace was appointed to the board after LTUSD board member Angela Swanson resigned on May 1. He became a provisional board member on June 23. Back in June, Wallace stated his intentions to run in November when he was being interviewed for the appointment. He wasn’t available for comment for this story.
LTUSD board incumbent Wendy David, who has been on the board for nearly 12 years, said she decided to run for her fourth term. “I’m a strong supporter of the direction of the district,” David said. “We have a strong superintendent and a great vision.”
David’s husband, Kerry David, is running again for his seat on the LTCC Board of Trustees.
The other incumbents running for the LTCC Board include Molly Blann, who has been on the board since July 2005, and Roberta Mason, who was the first LTCC board president in 1974. Blann and Kerry David weren’t available for comment in time for this article.
Mason said the college is one of her passions, and she wants to help see it through these tough economic times.
The challenger running in the LTCC race is Mary Jane Sanchez.
President Barack Obama motivated Sanchez to run, she said. She worked on his presidential campaign on the South Shore, and decided she wanted to be involved with the college board.
Sanchez runs a vacation rental business and has a background in education. She taught at LTCC a few years ago, and has also taught at Santa Monica Community College, College of the Desert, extensions of UCLA and UNR. Her subjects included economics, business and international business.
Sanchez said she has an understanding of the budget challenges the college faces, and thinks her background could help the institution.
Her main priorities for the college include creating innovative vocational programs to help students acquire higher paying jobs, strengthen the college’s budget and improve educational offerings with “partnership scholarships” – forming relationships with businesses to help the college.
In most previous elections, the LTCC board incumbents have gone unchallenged, but Mason said it’s good there’s a challenger in the race.
“It’s an opportunity for us to interact with the community,” Mason said.
Because of budget cuts, there will be changes at the college and the community needs to be a part of the discussion, Mason said.