Last week Inglewood stakeholders attended the Inglewood Unified School Districts (IUSD) candidate’s forum to learn more about those running for four vacant school board advisory seats. The Inglewood PTA association, of which I am a member, sponsored the forum, in conjunction with the League of Women’s Voters. The seats are advisory in capacity, for those who win will NOT be able to vote on ANYTHING. Although the candidates appeared to not fully understand their role, there was a couple who stood out as being great choices.
Some of the mistruths spoken by candidates:
1. One candidate wants to overhaul education.
2. One candidate wants to add a dual language immersion program.
we already have such a program.
3. Another candidate said painting the schools were the top priority.
no it’s not; our safety is what parents are most concerned about.
4. One candidate said we are running a $20 million dollar deficit.
we are near solvency by the summer, per IUSD estimates.
Many observers in the audience, which included former IUSD elected officials, staff and faculty, felt many of the candidates were overreaching in what they were telling the audience. Concern centered around previous members not staying in their lane of creating and passing policies, instead wanting to interfere in the day to day operations, which we have hired staff to do.
One thing Inglewood stakeholders are tired of is being lied to and misled. Candidates were honest about not having read any of the reports that detail the deficiencies, nor are they familiar with the legislation, SB 533, which also details how we come from out of receivership. That was disappointing.
Overall, the forum provided a platform to show how little they know about Inglewood Unified which causes concerns of how they are going to help maintain student enrollment?
Will they be a presence at the schools? Many candidates work full-time jobs. One requirement of being elected is they have to become educated on how to perform board duties. How can they do that while at work? Will they host reading clubs and do things to keep parents and students wanting to remain in IUSD? The only candidate who addressed “organizing” was Darius Leevy.
Darius Leevy is a former organizer in the union and possesses the ability to engage the community. He worked on Inglewood Councilman George Dotson’s successful campaign over incumbent Mike Stevens. Darius is also endorsed by the LA Democratic Party and many unions, including Inglewood Teachers Association. He is also a former City of Inglewood Planning Commissioner.
D’Artagnan Scorza has the support of both former state trustees Kent Taylor and LaTanya Kirk-Carter, but the general consensus was he appeared to be running for Dr. Brann’s job, which raised a red flag of will he stay in his lane? D’artagnan also benefits from huge name recognition having championed bond Measure GG and recently the spokesperson for the Inglewood initiative.
Finally, the last seat is between Margaret Richard-Bowers and Dionne Faulk. I like Dionne, however, the requirement for all incoming elected’s is they take educational courses, as outlined in SB 533, to prepare themselves, should IUSD return to local control while they are on the dais. Mrs. Faulk currently works a full-time job; will she be able to make those classes? Mrs. Bowers is a retired nurse, from Ladera, and is the former president of their HOA. She benefits from having just been on the ballot and placing second. The person she lost to, quit the board shortly after election, citing “she didn’t know she couldn’t vote”.
We need people who know their role is to simply retain the students we have and assist with attracting new students, if it is truly the desire, intent and mission to SAVE the Inglewood Unified School District.
Don’t forget to vote next Tuesday, April 7th.