Scott Barr: Familiarity With School Board Complexity

Scott Barr From left to right: Maria Simon, Dawn Ovrom, Scott Barr Credit: coronado.patch.com[/caption]

The Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) has two seats open and three candidates competing. One candidate, Scott Barr, has made a [strong] case for his candidacy.

In a lesser known race, such as CUSD’s governing board, information may be hard to come by. ECoronado.com, the city of Coronado’s news site, asked Scott Barr the challenges of CUSD and what he can bring to education:

Any school board member will tell you that it takes two or more years to learn how to be an effective board member, due to the unique culture of education and the constraints of education code, state funding, employee contracts, Brown Act and board conduct using Robert’s Rules.

The Brown Act is California’s open-meeting law allowing the public to attend regular meetings. Robert’s rules are general guidelines for efficient and professional meetings.

The reason he makes the case for experience is because he spent two terms on the Alpine Union school board. He believes that tough times for education, like the present, require someone who understands school board operations immediately.

Like every school district in California, Coronado schools face potential funding shortages. This is the number one issue for many candidates, including Scott Barr. He gives credit to the current CUSD board:

The current board and administration have created a five year plan to weather the economic downturn by 1) spending down reserve funds to mitigate the pain while 2) working with staff, teachers and administration to trim expenditures. These practices should continue.

Scott Barr also says, “[The] current economy leaves school districts with no choice but to increase class size as a means to balance budgets.” In a candidate forum that took place on Oct. 16, The CoronadoPatch said Barr thought, “It is important to have small classes at lower grade levels, especially through third grade.”

The Coronado Unified school board has three candidates competing for two seats: Incumbent Dawn Ovrom, Maria Simon, and Scott Barr. During the candidate forum, all three candidates agreed that although larger class sizes are undesirable it is preferred over faculty layoffs and a shortened school year. However, both Ovrom and Simon said that class size increases have to vary among different academic subjects. All three candidates also agreed that solutions have to be worked out with a school board consensus.

Since 1986, Scott Barr has been a career counselor at Grossmont Community College. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degree from San Diego State University. He and his family have lived in Coronado since 1994. Scott Barr is president of Coronado Student and Family Enrichment (SAFE), a youth development and counseling group for health and anti-drug education.

Coronado Unified School District is a public school system that enrolls around 3,100 students every year.