Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS) has made endorsements in local races that will be decided by voters on November 6th . The decade-old education-focused Political Action Committee has endorsed:
SANTA MONICA CITY COUNCIL
SANTA MONICA MALIBU BOARD OF EDUCATION
Maria Leon Vazquez
YES on Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Measure ES
The CEPS Steering Committee made its endorsements on Saturday, September 8, after a two-week evaluation process. Candidates for the Santa Monica City Council and the Santa Monica-Malibu Board of Education were invited to answer a short questionnaire and all responses to CEPS education-themed questions are posted on the CEPS website at www.excellentpublicschools.org. Select candidates were invited to a short interview with CEPS Steering Committee members, which were open to the community and took place at the Santa Monica Main Library on August 30 and September 4.
CEPS based its decision to endorse in the City Council race on criteria that went farther than expressed support for public education, but acknowledged candidates who had a record of working as true “champions” for public education. “Gleam, Shari, Ted and Terry each have impressive personal records of advocating for public schools and lifelong learning,” says CEPS Chair, Rebecca Kennerly. “We are proud to work with them to help preserve and protect our local schools and support the entire community.”
CEPS had difficulty making its decisions in the Santa Monica City Council race since so many candidates expressed vigorous support for public education. “We hated to narrow the field to the four to fill the open seats,” says CEPS Chair Rebecca Kennerly, “since a much greater number than that share our commitment to the core concept that strong schools equal a strong community.”
In the School Board election, CEPS voted to support the three incumbents in the race, School Board President, Ben Allen, as well as Jose Escarce and Maria Leon Vazquez. Each of these incumbents has a strong focus on representing all students in district, working to close the achievement gap, and helping develop and focus goals for the district, which has just seen a significant rise in student test scores. In addition, these incumbents, unfortunately, have experience guiding the district through budget crises, which could become a very large issue should California Propositions 30 and/or 38 fail to pass in November.
CEPS was encouraged to see three Malibu candidates, Karen Farrer, Craig Foster, and Seth Jacobson enter the Board of Education race. Steering Committee members have worked with and respect each of the three. However, as they are running as a single slate, the CEPS Steering Committee felt they were not provided with sufficient information to complete the necessary analysis of each candidate individually.
In addition to the Board of Education and City Council endorsements, CEPS also voted to support California Propositions 30 and 38, both of which would provide increased funding to public education and reduce the need for severe funding cuts to our local public schools. CEPS encourages “yes” votes for both.
Finally, CEPS voted to support the Santa Monica-Malibu Bond Measure ES, which will provide critically needed funds to schools to repair 100-year-old school facilities and upgrade technology so that students can engage in 21st Century learning.