Yoga critics run for EUSD board

ENCINITAS — A pair of vocal critics of the Encinitas Union School District’s previous proposal to spend $800,000 to continue its yoga program are running for election to the school board.

Anne-Katherine Pingree and Leslie Schneider held a joint campaign kickoff on Aug. 24, shortly after they both qualified for the Nov. 8 ballot, where two seats on the board are up for election.

They are facing off against incumbent board member Patricia Sinay, who was appointed in 2015 to replace Maureen Muir, who won election to the San Dieguito Union High School District board, and Rimga Viskanta, who was one of the 11 people who applied for Muir’s position.

Longtime school board member Carol Skiljian is not seeking re-election to the board after a career spanning more than two decades. She was first elected in 1992.

Pingree and Schneider have spearheaded criticism of the current board and superintendent Tim Baird over the district’s yoga program, which was previously funded by The Sonima Foundation before the organization pulled its funding, which prompted the district’s initial proposal to spend $800,000 to keep it going this year.

The district ultimately approved a less costly plan.

Pingree has also criticized Baird for his failure to document a number of gifts and gratuities from several organizations on his state disclosure of economic interest forms. The Coast News first reported on Baird’s reporting lapse.

Pingree and her husband have four children who are or have attended EUSD schools and serves on the Parent Teachers Association and School Site Council at El Camino Creek Elementary School.

Leslie Schneider is a North County native with two children enrolled in Encinitas Union School District schools.

Sinay was unanimously appointed in January 2015 to complete Muir’s term. The nonprofit consultant and PTA member at Paul Ecke Central Elementary was born in Mexico to an Argentine father and a Peruvian mother, and has spent her adult life linking nonprofit organizations that service those minorities and low-income populations with government agencies, school districts and corporations through the firm she founded, Community Investment Strategies.

Viskanta served on the Proposition P citizens advisory committee and the EUSD Wellness Committee. She currently is the PTA president at Ocean Knoll Elementary. She said on her campaign website that she is committed to addressing the diverse needs of all students, including high achiever, special-needs and English as a second language learners.

Viskanta also serves on the SDUHSD Prop. AA citizens oversight committee.

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