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School boards need business-like approach

By   /   Monday, August 18th, 2008  /   Comments Off on School boards need business-like approach

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It might be the understatement of the decade to declare that California’s public schools need a lot of help.

From funding sources to quality of instruction to getting parents to take responsibility for their children, our public education system is in dire straits. It would be easy for business owners to walk away from the problems of our schools or to simply throw up their hands and declare the situation unfixable.

Which is why it is refreshing to see a couple of well known area leaders step up and be counted in local races for school board. In mentioning Ed Heron and Mark Lisagor, we recognize we are walking a fine line between endorsements, which we don’t do, and recognition – something we feel compelled to do from time to time.

Heron, who is running for a seat in the Santa Barbara School Districts Board of Education, is a longtime member of the city’s real estate community. He’s been a leader in Partners in Education, a private-public partnership that supports the Santa Barbara County Education Office and he’s been one of the driving forces behind the University of California, Santa Barbara, Economic Forecast Project.
He also is a past chairman of the audit committee at Mid-State Bankshares, parent of Mid-State Bank & Trust.
Lisagor, a pediatric dentist, is best known to readers of this newspaper as the former head of the California State University, Channel Islands, Foundation. But he’s been involved in a number of volunteer programs in Camarillo and has tossed his hat into the ring for a seat on the Ventura County Board of Education, District 3. Lisagor’s candidacy already has been endorsed by Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, a product of Ventura County schools.

Lisagor and Heron will stand for sound fiscal practices and high levels of professional conduct.

We mention their candidacies in the hope that other members of our business community also will step up and run for office so that our education and government institutions get the kind of leadership that’s required in tough economic times.

Far too often, the people in charge of our schools have been agenda-driven incumbents with a strong taste for politics but very little of the pragmatic, problem-solving capacities that come along with having run a successful business.

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