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School Board Race Pits President Against District Advisory Committee Chair

Are you voting for Kevin Beiser or Amy Redding for the San Diego Unified School District board.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A San Diego Unified School District advisory committee chairwoman and frequent Board of Education meeting attendee will challenge the board president in today's election, while a retired teacher is running unopposed in another race.

Board president Kevin Beiser's tenure representing the city's northeastern neighborhoods has included spearheading an effort to keep cuts away from visual and performing arts programs, implementing an anti-bullying policy and a ban on Styrofoam lunch trays.

The Sweetwater Union High School District teacher and former county Math Teacher of the Year said if he is elected to a second term he will work to keep class sizes low; protect art, music and career vocational education; and improve graduation rates.

"We must continue to ensure all our schools offer a rigorous curriculum that includes music, the arts and systematic support programs to help students succeed and achieve their full potential," according to a Beiser campaign statement.

His challenger, Amy Redding, is a parent of two city school students, and she worked in biotechnology prior to founding the Parent Advisory Leaders group and chairing the District Advisory Council for Compensatory Education, which advises the board on meeting the needs of disadvantaged students.

In her various roles in the district, she has pushed for district money to be used at school sites and for transparency because "too many decisions are made without community input and behind closed doors."

Redding was prompted to run for the school board because she disagreed with some of its prior actions, including shortening the school year and increasing class sizes to save money.

If elected, she plans to make decisions that focus on student success and rebuild the district's financial stability. She'll also advocate for school safety and security, according to her campaign.

Trustee Scott Barnett -- whom Michael McQuary, the only candidate to qualify for the ballot -- will replace, endorsed Redding over his colleague Beiser. McQuary is unopposed to represent the areas along the coast, Linda Vista and parts of downtown San Diego. Barnett announced via Facebook in March he would not seek reelection.

"In trying to be a responsible and productive board member on behalf of the students, employees and taxpayers, I have been required to use much emotional, intellectual and physical energy, which has interfered from meeting my personal, family and professional goals," Barnett said. "I need to put my own life first again."

Only residents in sub-districts B and C will vote for school board candidates Tuesday, but because the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff, voters citywide will decide in November whether Beiser or Redding will be elected.

—City News Service

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