The implementation of Common Core and the upcoming bond vote took up a great deal of discussion time at Fullerton Joint Union High School District’s candidates forum.
The forum, held September 29 at Arborland Montessori School and sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, was moderated by Dr. Sarah Hill, professor of Political Science at Cal State Fullerton. Hill prepared four questions that the seven candidates answered. The candidates then answered audience questions for the rest of the allotted time, which dealt with the upcoming bond vote and also the implementation of Common Core.
Seven candidates are running for three open seats on the board, which geographically stretches through La Habra, Buena Park, Fullerton and portions of Whittier. They include three incumbents: Bob Hathaway, Robert Singer and Marilyn Buchi. The other candidates are Zina Gleason, MJ Noor, Joanne Fawley and Ho Jeong Lim, who did not attend.
Hill’s questions were open ended and dealt with what candidates thought defined success for the district and the biggest challenges the district faced over the next four years.
Measure I came up as a topic asked by the audience. The board voted August 5 to put a $175 million bond vote on the ballot. The funds will be assessed to homeowners at the rate of $19 per $100,000. Bond money will be used to fix needed items at schools and also modernize science labs and school facilities.
Gleason thought that not having a delineated list of items that bond money would be spent on was a challenge to getting the measure passed. She agreed though that the bond money was needed, even though she said she needed to research whether the vote came about due to mismanagement of funds.
Buchi said that since the district high schools are over 50 years old that work needs to be done on them. She used the example of the swimming pool at Sunny Hills High School, which will get a new pool shortly costing $5 million. It is leaking gallons of water every day and fixing it would be cost prohibitive. She said that a person at the last meeting who opposed the bond said that the school should hold fundraisers to get the pool built.
“This isn’t a bake sale thing,” she said.
The implementation of Common Core also took up a great deal of time at the forum. Almost all candidates agreed it was the law and had to be implemented. Most of them liked the idea of the critical thinking skills Common Core would teach.
Hathaway said that he doesn’t like the federal intrusion of Common Core but said that it’s the law and must be implemented. He was informed by the local ROP program that they have been teaching this way for years though.
Noor, who founded the Ladera Vista Honors Parent Association in 2010, is ardently against the district implementing Common Core, which brought applause from the audience.
“We don’t need the United Nations, the federal government to tell us [how to teach]! Ladies and gentlemen, Common Core is wrong for us and I really feel it in my heart,” she said.
Elections will take place November 4 throughout Fullerton.
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