Vote for me, school board hopefuls say |

Vote for me, school board hopefuls say

William Ferchland

MEYERS – At the final forum for those seeking two seats on Lake Tahoe Unified School District Board of Education, candidates stuck to their guns and reiterated their stances in hopes to get elected Nov. 8.

Unlike the past three forums, candidate Rolf Hermann “Ralph” Mayer attended. As he voiced that he would push for a parcel tax if elected, candidate John Nemes emphasized a need for change, challenger Angela Swanson referred to her experience in the education field and incumbent Wendy David stressed the board should be kept in the direction it’s headed.

Wednesday’s forum at the Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet School involved 11 questions sandwiched between two-minute segments of opening and closing statements. Candidates were allotted one minute to answer. The response time was strictly enforced by members of the Meyers Roundtable Committee, which sponsored the event.

David is seeking her third term on a board that has been rocked by cuts tied to financial troubles mostly from declining enrollment. Se acknowledged how she felt when closing two schools but said she “rejoiced” when programs and teachers were brought back. Her aims include strengthening alternative education and increasing enrollment numbers.

“It might be a smaller school district but it will be an excellent school district,” she said.

Mayer, a retired prosecutor from Southern California, admitted he was a long shot to be elected but told the roughly 40 people in attendance to not ignore his political astuteness and the need for a parcel tax.

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“We need real money,” he said.

Mayer ran for a seat on the board two years ago but did not obtain enough votes.

Using his background as a teacher with 32 years in the school district, Nemes voiced the most need for change and questioned the board’s past decisions. He repeatedly referred to the district’s performance on state tests and how they need to improve. Another idea was consolidating positions at the district level and leasing or selling the property at South Tahoe Middle School.

“We need new thinking, new blood,” he said.

Swanson, an education consultant, reminded voters of her past work with the board, from attending meetings to being a member of the superintendent’s roundtable committees in areas such as finance. Perhaps the most polished speaker in the group, Swanson spoke of partnering with other entities, such as Lake Tahoe Community College, and looking into dual enrollment programs with sites such as St. Theresa Catholic School.

“I’m proud of this board,” she said. “I’d be proud to join this board.”