My Endorsements for Conejo Valley School Board 2018

By Craig R. Everett, PhD

 

Dear friends,

I am running for the community college board, but hardly anyone ever asks me about MY race. It seems that the race that has everyone’s interest is the local school board race. People ask me about that one instead, probably because my wife Sandee is on the school board. She will be up for re-election in 2020.

I am endorsing Dr. Amy Chen, Angie Simpson and Mike Dunn for Conejo Valley School Board. These three are high integrity, common sense candidates that can be trusted to always be pro-student and pro-parent. They will also reverse our decade-long declining enrollment problem and thus prevent schools from closing. 

Amy Chen is brilliant, cares deeply about education and children, and has vowed to solve our enrollment problem. Angie Simpson’s highly professional and common-sense approach is sorely needed on our board. Mike Dunn has a long record of standing up for our kids in the face of vicious opposition. I continue to support Mike because he is an American hero. In his career as a firefighter (including as a Hotshot and Helishot), risking his life for others was a routine part of his everyday life. I have found that true heroes typically have a low tolerance for BS. We always know that Mike is saying exactly what he thinks and always stands up for the little guy. We need more of that in this world.

Notice: the following paragraphs sometimes refer to political ideology. My position is that we need to keep politics OUT of our schools, both out of the classroom and the boardroom. No one should be pushing an ideology on our children. Not from the Left and not from the Right. If teachers are doing their job right, their students shouldn’t even be able to figure out what political party they belong to.

I am always very reluctant to say anything negative about candidates, but I am asking you to NOT vote for Bill Gorback, Jenny Fitzgerald, and Cindy Goldberg. All three of them continually state that they are endorsed by the “teachers.” This is not true. There are no candidates endorsed by the “teachers.” These three are endorsed by the Democratic Party and by the teachers UNION, which is a mostly political body. The “teachers” and the “teachers union” are not even close to being the same thing. 

Many teachers mistakenly think their union dues go toward paying the salary of their local union president, and are really mad when they find out the school district (i.e. taxpayer) pays the salary of their local union president (out of our kids general fund) instead. So what are the union dues used for, then? That is a really good question.

The likely reason the three union candidates are careful not to say the word “union” is because in our area, the union-endorsed candidates very often lose. The teachers union endorsement is the kiss of death and is a signal to many people who NOT to vote for.  

Cindy Goldberg should not be running for our school board at all. She has a deep conflict of interest and has stated that she has no intention of quitting her job with Conejo Schools Foundation. She is a de-facto employee of the district and should therefore be disqualified from being on the board. She actually already has her own office in the CVUSD administration building and her salary is paid mostly through the highly questionable CVUSD summer school program. In the state of California, it is ILLEGAL for school districts to charge for summer school classes. In order to skirt this law, CVUSD holds the summer school program through Conejo Schools Foundation so that it can charge for classes. This makes me very upset. It is a blatant and intentional rip-off, and essentially a money-grab out of the pockets of Conejo Valley parents.  In my opinion, we already pay too much extra money for our children’s supposedly free education.

I should note that if my preferred candidates – Amy, Angie and Mike – are elected, they will solve our enrollment problem and then our district should once again be in the financial position to offer free summer school classes – as it should be. Most of our school funding comes from Sacramento and is based on enrollment numbers. So if our enrollment goes up, our budget problems should go away.

I also do not support Jenny Fitzgerald, both because of her political agenda and because she simply does not appear to have the temperament to be on the board. Her public comments are frequently angry, inaccurate and divisive. I believe she will bring a negative and litigious tone to the board. We already have one political-bomb-thrower (Betsy) on the board, so it’s hard to argue that we need another one.

I also do not support Bill Gorback. He has run for school board twice before and apparently hasn’t gotten the hint. Most recently, he is famous for his passionate support for approving the crude book, “Part-time Indian,” to our high school curriculum. This book was written by sexual predator Sherman Alexie. Any adult who reads this book can see how overtly sexual and creepy the author is. I think that Gorback’s enthusiastic support for that book is very troubling, when you consider that the school board is ultimately in charge of our kids’ curriculum. Bill Gorback appears to have very strange judgement about what is appropriate and what is not. I don’t think he is a good fit for the board.

In general, I am very troubled with the way the teachers union and their three candidates have been behaving this election. No wonder so many teachers have quietly said that they are planning on leaving the union. The union strategy is reminiscent of the mafia, who breaks your windows and then sells you window insurance. The union and their three candidates have been intentionally causing discord, disruption and chaos in board meetings, and then they lament the chaos and claim that electing THEM is the solution. Thus, they are the cause of the problem and miraculously also the solution to the problem. Please. It would be funny if it weren’t such a morally bankrupt and cynical strategy. 

The union appears to be attempting to do a hostile takeover of the school district. I’m not sure how anyone could consider this a good idea. They would then be sitting on both sides of the negotiating table. The fox would be guarding the fiscal hen house, which never ends well. 

I kept hoping that this stuff would be reported elsewhere, but it never was. I strongly prefer not saying anything negative about candidates, but I thought that it was important for me to express why I am voting for some candidates and not for others. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my musings on the school board race, which are my own and for which I take full responsibility. I try to be completely accurate, so if I have inadvertently said anything that is not true, I will fix it. Please let me know.

Be sure to vote, and I hope that you will vote for Amy Chen, Angie Simpson and Mike Dunn for CVUSD School Board. I believe that these three will do a great job. Please also consider voting for me in the VCCCD race!

Sincerely,

Dr. Craig R. Everett

https://www.craigeverett.com/

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