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Our View - Castaic needs action

Posted: October 24, 2009 3:47 p.m.
Updated: October 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
When it comes to the Castaic Union School District election, there's one 800-pound gorilla in the room.

It's not the dire straits of the budget, which match every other California school district's dire straits.

It's not standardized test scores, which are among the lowest of elementary school districts in the Santa Clarita Valley.

To be sure, both of these are issues.

But there's only so much a school board can do once the budget pinch is upon it: Seek advice in deciding how to make cuts, and then make them.

And there's only so much a school board can do about test scores, since this is largely an administrative function. Castaic administrators appear to be well on their way to resolving this issue.

But some of the things school board members can do is liaise with other agencies and lobby for change.

That's right - schmooze their way to resolution of an issue.

And the 800-pound gorilla of an issue is the long-promised, long-awaited high school for Castaic.

Some of the five candidates seeking three seats on the Castaic Union School District believe that's not the board's problem.

Because the district educates only through the eighth grade, a high school doesn't come under its board's jurisdiction, they say. It's someone else's problem.

We like the candidates who think otherwise.

Heaven knows that after 10 years awaiting even a site for a high school, we need everyone who can get out of the bus and push it uphill to do so.

John Zaring: He's outspoken, he's forceful, and we think he's a good voice for making a high school happen. Zaring isn't new to the Castaic high school issue - he founded a group called Castaic United to Build the School some 10 years ago. He worked on the Measure SA bond drive in 2008, which passed with the top priority of building a Castaic high school. A businessman in the entertainment industry, he's strong on proposed liaisons with various elements of the Santa Clarita Valley communities to benefit the Castaic school district.

Seher Awan: "The Castaic Union School District should lead by example" in the battle to win a high school for Castaic, writes this candidate, a student support specialist at College of the Canyons with business administration and public administration education. Her work at COC has her interacting regularly with both academically and financially disadvantaged college students and with college administrators. A 20-year resident of Castaic, she looks like a get-it-done candidate.

Susan Christopher: A parent volunteer, attorney and former Castaic Union substitute teacher, Christopher also advocates strong and united school board lobbying to get Castaic high school built. Christopher's professional background is in mediation and conflict resolution. We think that could be useful for a school board member.

Zaring, Awan and Christopher bring a variety of viewpoints, business acumen and academic knowledge to the table, all of which would benefit Castaic Union School District in the tough budgetary and academic years ahead.

And each believes a high school for his or her community is something the school board can tackle and help make happen. We believe that makes them good candidates for Castaic in the Nov. 3 election.

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