School board incumbents face 3 challengers |

School board incumbents face 3 challengers

Three outsiders and two incumbents have applied for a trio of Lake Tahoe Unified School District board seats.

While Lennie Schwartz, board president, and board member Bernadette Santana are looking to extend their time, board member Sue Yang said she will not seek re-election.

“It is all based on personal family issues,” Yang said. “If it wasn’t for those, I would definitely run in a heartbeat.”

Board members Wendy David and Madeline Fernald won their seats in November 2001.

If no one else files by Wednesday’s 5 p.m. deadline, Schwartz and Santana will have to compete with three challengers. They include a Meyers Elementary Parent Teacher Association member, a retired Meyers principal and a retired Los Angeles County deputy district attorney.

Barbara Bannar has been with Meyers PTA for three years. She has lived in South Lake Tahoe for eight years. Before residing in the basin, she worked in finance, marketing and sales for seven years.

Bannar would like to see better management of the district’s finances, saying she would like to see a balance between business and education. “I would like to help bring to the board more of a business person’s perspective because I feel they don’t have anybody on the board who can bring that,” she said.

Doug Forte retired as Meyers principal after the 2001-02 school year. He has 31 years of experience in education as a teacher and administrator.

“Lake Tahoe Unified School District is facing many difficult challenges,” Forte said. “Inadequate funding from the state of California and a declining enrollment are a few issues facing the district. I feel I have the experience and qualifications necessary to lead the district through the tough times it is experiencing.”

Rolf Hermann Mayer moved his family to South Lake Tahoe from Los Angeles last year. Mayer was a deputy district attorney with Los Angeles County for nearly three decades and a visitor to the basin for many summers. He believes his relatively short time as a resident is an advantage.

“Usually the coziness exists at the top level,” he said. “It might be nice not to have someone cozy with the folks here and be more objective when the cuts are made.”

Mayer said that if elected, he would attempt to avoid laying off teachers. He sees himself as an insurance policy for the board because he would keep things “as is.”

The election is Nov. 4. The last day to register to vote is Oct. 20.

— E-mail William Ferchland at

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