DISTRICTWIDE ‚Äî¬† The steering committee of a Santa Monica education advocacy organization announced its state and local picks Sunday for the Nov. 6 general election.
Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS) came out in support of Mayor Richard Bloom in his bid for the 50th State Assembly District and all three of the incumbents running for their spots on the Board of Education ‚Äî board President Ben Allen and boardmembers Maria Leon-Vazquez and Jose Escarce.
“I am gratified to receive this endorsement which recognizes my unrelenting commitment to youth and education,” Bloom said. “CEPS understands that this is the kind of commitment that is necessary in Sacramento where, year after year after year, the state has taken away essential funding from K-12 and higher education.”
The steering committee also endorsed its former leader, Shari Davis, in her run for the City Council, alongside incumbents Mayor Pro Tem Gleam Davis and Councilmember Terry O‚ÄôDay, and Planning Commissioner Ted Winterer.
CEPS was looking for candidates who were “true champions” for public education, according to a post on their website.
“Gleam, Shari, Ted and Terry each have impressive personal records of advocating for public schools and lifelong learning,” said Rebecca Kennerly, chair of CEPS. “We are proud to work with them to help preserve and protect our local schools and support the entire community.”
Shari Davis thanked CEPS, which she chaired for seven years, for its support of her campaign, noting that a community with good schools gives children better opportunities for their futures, provides businesses with trained employees and ensures safer neighborhoods.
“I think voters understand these linkages and will support candidates who believe in CEPS‚Äô mission, which of course I strongly support and will uphold as a City Councilmember,” she said.
Winterer, who recently did work on the Economic Feasibility Committee which investigated a local bond measure for the school district, was pleased to receive the support.
“As the parent of two children enrolled in our school district I know what a great job our teachers do with limited resources, so I am greatly appreciative of the work CEPS has done for many years to advocate for local funding for our schools to address the continuing cuts to public education by the state of California,” Winterer said.
CEPS took a pass on three Malibu residents also running in the Board of Education race. Karen Farrer, Seth Jacobson and Craig Foster are running as a slate and turned in a single questionnaire to the committee.
The members of the steering committee did not feel they had enough information to judge each candidate individually, according to the website.
Jacobson, responding for the full slate, said Monday that the lack of endorsement had more to do with inertia in Santa Monica politics than their unusual run.
“While we honor the service of the current board, we believe it‚Äôs time to shake up the status quo,” he said. “Every establishment door that is closed to us just confirms that view.”
The committee made its decisions after a two-week evaluation process. Candidates for the various positions answered questionnaires, all of which are available at www.excellentpublicschools.org.
Those that made it past the initial screening process were invited to a short interview with the steering committee members, after which the committee made its decision.
CEPS formed in 2003 as a way for parents to advocate for more funding for local public schools. The group was instrumental in forcing the City Council in 2004 to commit to long-term funding for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.