Six candidates are running for three open seats on the Board of Education during a school year that looks like nothing public education has seen before.
Whoever is elected to the board in November will be tasked with making difficult decisions around the safe reopening of schools, what instruction should look like during a pandemic and addressing turmoil among some teachers and parents who have opposed reopening. If voters don't approve a parcel tax renewal in November, they could also be facing a $15.6 million hole in the district budget.
Incumbents Todd Collins and Jennifer DiBrienza are running for reelection. Board member Melissa Baten Caswell, who will end her third term in November, is instead running for a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Education.
The two incumbents and four newcomers — Katie Causey, Jesse Ladomirak, Matthew Nagle and Karna Nisewaner — overlap in their stances on many major school issues but would bring diverse personal and professional perspectives to the dais. Some of the challengers were motivated to run because of their own frustrations as parents with the current board's handling of school closures.
While much of the campaign has focused on the school district's response to the pandemic, voters will be looking to the newly constituted board to make progress on longstanding issues such as governance transparency, the achievement gap, student mental health and academic excellence.
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