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CUSD candidates debate over district issues

CARLSBAD — Voicing competing views about Sage Creek High School and an agreement with MiraCosta College, two Carlsbad Unified School District Board of Trustees candidates campaigned before the Carlsbad Republican Women Federated on Tuesday.

Republicans Ann Tanner, a psychotherapist who is finishing her first term on the CUSD Board, and Sage Naumann, a 19-year-old owner of a web consulting company, are running for two of the four seats up for election this November.

Tanner, who is currently serving as the board president, emphasized her dedication to preparing Carlsbad students for college and career to compete with students around the world.

She explained that high school students around the world, particularly in China, are passing the U.S.’s Advanced Placement exams.

“(CUSD students) are going to be competing in a global environment,” she said. “Those kids who are studying their brains out in China, that’s who we need to compete with,” she said.

Naumann urged meeting attendees to look past his age and consider his focus on fiscal responsibility for the district.

He said the school board needs to consider alternative revenue streams that do not rely on taxes. He proposed that the Board cut costs by working with the city to share maintenance trucks.

“We have to take responsibility about our own budget,” he said.

Questions from the audience led to a disagreement between the candidates about recent school board decisions, notably the opening of Sage Creek and the leasing of classrooms to MiraCosta.

CUSD’s second high school, Sage Creek High School, was built with funds from Prop P, a $198 million general obligation bond passed by residents in 2006.

The school opened in fall 2013 with only a freshman class, despite some opposition from the teachers’ union and parents.

Naumann argued that because so few students enrolled to attend the new school, the district should have delayed the opening of the high school and rented its facilities out to a charter school instead.

He said the school district could have earned revenue by renting the facility, rather than spend money operating the new school for only about 300 students.

Tanner maintained that the district had an obligation to open the school as soon as possible because of voters’ approval of Prop P. She said that the school’s enrollment would build gradually over the next three years.

Sage Creek will have more than 600 students in sophomore and freshman classes for the upcoming 2014-15 school year.

Tanner added that Canyon Crest Academy, in the neighboring San Dieguito Union High School District, also opened with a small freshman class several years ago and now accepts students by lottery because more students want to attend the public school than it is able to enroll.

In response to questions, Tanner also highlighted CUSD’s agreement to share classrooms at Sage Creek High School with MiraCosta. Under the agreement, CUSD students will be able take any of the college’s classes for free.

The agreement will allow easier access to college classes and enhance college readiness for high school students, Tanner said.

Naumann pointed out that MiraCosta College now allows all high school students in San Diego County to take classes for free. He said that the Board should have charged MiraCosta for use of its classrooms.

“I personally think that the MiraCosta agreement was one of the most embarrassing agreements we’ve ever done,” Naumann said.

Most of the CRWF members said that rather than choosing sides between candidates, they planned on supporting both to ensure that more Republicans sit on the board.

In addition to Tanner’s term, the terms of Veronica Williams, Lisa Rodman, and Claudine Jones on the district’s Board of Trustees also conclude at the end of this year.

There are four available seats on the Board this election rather than three because Jones was appointed to the board in September 2013 to take the place of Kelli Moors, who resigned.

Jones’ term is set to conclude this year so the public can vote for someone to serve the remaining two years of Moors’ original four-year term, set to end in 2016.

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12 comments

Marilynn gallagher April 24, 2014 at 11:13 am

Go Sage. thank you for bringing some wisdom into the Carlsbad Unified conversation.
And yes, Sage Creek could have been rented out, and yes, Mira Costa should not be free. But CUSD is so afraid of a charter school coming into the district and exposing their lack of a writing program, lack of a GATE PROGRAM, mislagined priorities, and their wasteful spending patterns.

3 charter schools have offered the district plenty of money for their sites, and they have all been denied. They have risen in other districts where they are stealing high achieving kids from Carlsbad in droves. Why? because we have lame duck trustees that do not do their research and allow our superintendent and her staff to escalate Carlsbad into the highest class sizes in North County, and the fastest declining scores in North County.

WAKE UP Carlsbad, cuz property values are closely aligned with school success. We will be the next Oceanside.

Really P April 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm

And let us not forget the conflict of interest that Ms. Tanner brings to the party with her husband’s AVID company. Whereby, CUSD is paying gobs and gobs of our tax money to AVID to support students who’s parents haven’t gone to college. How absurd. My parents didn’t go to college, does that mean I won’t be successful unless I attend AVID? And how is it that we are now going to have AVID in middle school AND elementary?

Administration says we don’t need a GATE program or a differentiating program for our high achieving students in the elementary schools, yet we NEED a program for the students who’s parents didn’t go to college in elementary school. How is that? The GATE kids are not getting what they need and nobody cares. But the kids who’s parents didn’t go to college (geez, how ridiculous – I didn’t go to college and I bought a $250K single family home when I was 23) are enrolling in AVID and the district thinks this will make the moon sing.

A tenant of the mission of Carlsbad Unified School District is that our students flourish in life as enthusiastic, confident learners through a world-class educational system characterized by vigorous PERSONALIZED curriculum, dedicated teaching and total community involvement.

Let me tell you. My 4 GATE children are NOT getting personalized curriculum. When brought to the teacher’s attention, the response is that the teacher is teaching to the syllabus and there is not differentiation. REAL NICE.

Is that how we compete with our World Class – Global learning against the Chinese? No, CUSD invests (AVID) in the categorical learners because the money. The money the state gives to the district and the money that Ms. Tanner’s husband makes at AVID.

Taxpayers….please think really long and hard who you want on this board. The current board is doing you and our future (children & property values) a disservice by making bad decisions.

parent for lower class sizes April 24, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Dear ann tanner, sage naumann and other trustees.

Don’t spend any more money on AVID. Please spend money on lowering class sizes. Spend money on keyboarding, computers, and music art and PE, Every week I get a note home to pay for an art project, or contribute to some new fundraser. The reason is always the same……this or that program is not funded by the school district.

Yet, at the town hall meeting I heard we were “funded” for the first time in years. I expect, now that you will start spending money on kids.
I have a daughter in one of your middle schools. She is unchallenged, and for the first time this year, has told me she “hates” school. Not her friends, her school.

We are looking at High Tech High, Classical academy and ST PATs as options.

reallyfrustrated April 25, 2014 at 10:26 am

These comments spot on. The current board members are not interested or vested in the students, I have been to some of these meetings and they do not listen to parents, or teachers.

Instead of spending money on ALL of the students, it gets spent hiring more admin people and contracting outside firms to do their jobs. Who oversee’s the board and school district? Why are they not held accountable for all of their fiscal irresponsibilities?

I also have a GATE student that isn’t getting challenged the way they are supposed to be. It makes me livid that those kids aren’t important enough to spend money on, but the AVID kids and other “disadvantaged” kids are. What about the rest of us who have to pay the high cost of living here and are struggling to do that, we pay high taxes and get nothing in return. Doesn’t seem to bother the school board, that there is no consideration for these high achievers and I am sick of it. We all have to work hard and services should be equitable to all students,no matter what “group” we are in. You want to compete with student in China, maybe foster the high achievers we have here?

They did lower class sizes a bit, which helps. Now lets focus on spending the money on ALL students, not only certain groups.

Carlsbad Parent April 26, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Don’t blame AVID for the district’s problems. This is a well organized training program which provides teachers with knowledge and skills which benefit ALL students. My son’s teacher incorporates note taking and organizational skills into her lessons routinely. This models for students how to be more efficient and produce quality work in high school and someday in college! This is good for our children’s future whether or not we went to college ourselves.

parent for lower class sizes April 28, 2014 at 9:18 am

Carlsbad Parent:

No one is blaming AVID for the districts problems.

However, I have not heard anyone that is in AVID extol it merits, rather, only people who want to spend more money on it speak of its expansion. On the other hand, I have heard that the IB program is wonderful that we have at Jefferson, and that that should be expanded, not AVID.

I heard the district mention at one of the town hall meetings that their priority is lowering class sizes.
so lets keep that the focus not bringing in some specific costly program that doesn’t make sense for little kids.

Trustees: Concentrate on affecting all children positively, in Carlsbad, please!

Carlsbad Parent 2 April 28, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Several things:

First, the current board has many issues that is for sure. We need some really good candidates in the upcoming election However, I’m not convinced Sage is the solution.

No charter schools!!!!! I went to several wonderful presentations on a few nearby. Unfortunately, after visiting, some of what is presented isn’t what is happening. Charter schools directly takes away funding from the school districts (goes with the student).

GATE: What is it that parents expect for GATE? GATE curriculum is supposed to be challenging the child. In many cases, the child does not desire the challenge. Do parents more work for their child? More alternatives? How should the district monitor that? I have a read complaints, but nothing concrete about what it should look like. In fact, GATE parents have a million views of how it should look.

AVID: My children have learned to do a proper close reading, take good notes, etc. All skills for college readiness.

Informed voter May 11, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Why should I vote for a kid who hasn’t yet completed college, let alone an associates degree yet? If he’s running for school board he should be a stronger proponent of education. His credentials just don’t match up for being on the SCHOOL board. Count me out.

Michael A. Schwartz May 30, 2014 at 6:16 pm

There were a whole lot of degrees in the room when Kelli Moors voted herself into a new job with a law firm, but it was Sage who caught it.
Sage has character and a detailed plan for excellence. I’ll take it!

paula yokoyama May 30, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Sage Nauman is one of the most mature young men I have ever met. He is very smart and has superior leadership talent. He will bring insights to the School Board that older,jaded people will not bring. He has great ideas for education for our young people. He has the ability to relate well to people of all ages. You are awesome, Sage.

Zack Brown May 30, 2014 at 7:39 pm

It’s clear that Sage Naumann brings the right perspective, attitude, and character to the race. The person most qualified for a seat on the board is someone who knows first-hand the education system in Carlsbad. In this regard, Naumann’s age is a great strength. As a community leader and small business owner, Sage Naumann is proof positive of what one can achieve with a quality high school education. Electing Sage Naumann will be a breath of fresh air for the Board of Trustees, and his outside perspective and independence will ensure accountability, results, and impactful change in the Carlsbad School District. I’m confident that he is the right man for the job.

paula yokoyama May 31, 2014 at 7:53 am

Mr. Brown, You summed it up well. Sage will be a great addition to the Board!

Comments are closed.