COVID-19 has presented Escondido with a challenge unlike anything we have faced before. As a board, we have had to work diligently to adapt to our changing environment and protect the health and safety of our employees and students. At the end of the 2019-2020 school year we transitioned to online learning and moved early on to ensure every student had access to laptops and internet to continue their education from home. For the upcoming fall semester, we decided to start the year off with two types of distance learning options and re-evaluate further into the year, after the first grading period—giving teachers time to plan for in person instruction. This crisis is not an ideal situation for anyone, but I believe in the resilience of our community. I am confident that the we will get through the COVID-19 pandemic and be stronger because of it.
Rising pension costs and declining enrollment have forced the district to make tough choices in the past several years. It is critical, now more than ever, that we have a board that understands the budgeting process and acts in a way that protects the long term financial health of the district. We must continue to seek creative solutions that allows every Escondido student to enjoy a world class education while not overburdening taxpayers or putting future generations at risk.
When I graduated from High School I could not afford to go to college and pursue higher education. Fortunately, I was able to find success because I was taught basic trade skills by a mentor. Using those skills, I was able to get a job in construction and eventually work my way up to manager.
Students that graduate with career-ready skills like I did are well positioned to find a good paying job and make a living for themselves and their families. Escondido is fortunate to have some really exceptional career tech programs ranging from a renowned culinary arts program at Orange Glen High School to award winning Future Farmers of America programs on all our campuses. As a school board trustee, I have made supporting career technical education a top priority and will continue to do so if I am re-elected. We can deliver life changing skills to our students so that every Escondido public school graduate is ready to succeed in the real world.
To read about my personal journey with skill-based education, check out my op-ed on Facebook: