Our Picks for the School Board

(Updated to reflect a late email from Monique Ketteringham-ed.)

Tammie Bullard – Incumbent

Francine Scinto – Incumbent

James Laird – Incumbent

I knew there was something we forgot. Hey, come on, how many voters truly look at who is running for the school board? That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t and, during the contentious issues we have had between the TUSD and the city of Tustin, they deserve a once over. Face it, even the candidates themselves didn’t even think it important enough to spend a few dollars on a website as I have not been able to find any for any candidate.

There are five candidates for three seats on the Tustin Unified School District governing board. They are, Francine Scinto, Monique Ketteringham, Dr. Elias Teferi, James Laird, and Tammie Bullard. Of the five, only the three incumbents bothered to file candidate statements. All three of them promote the fact that TUSD, under their guidance, has maintained a low student to teacher ratio, increased relevant student scores and run an efficient budget. They are also long time members of the board, Scinto and Bullard both holding seats for the past 16 years. Laird has been a member of the board since 2004.

None of them has raised the issue of the ongoing fight between the district and the city of Tustin and that is a bit of concern.

There also appears to be some concern over the actual residence of school board member Francine Scinto. Earlier in the year, a commenter mentioned that Scinto may not actually live in the district. They cited a Google search that indicated Scinto lives in south county. We did our own Google search and it came up with an address in North Tustin. So, at a recent event (which was held in her neighborhood in North Tustin, by the way) I asked Scinto about her residence. She adamantly denied living out of the district at the time. The person making the accusation has not sat on her heels. She may also run a website that posted this a few days ago. Still no solid proof. Just accusations. I’ll let you be the judge.

Tammie Bullard is also a long time member of the board. She has been board president multiple times and continues to advocate for a fiscal conservatism and low class size.

The two upstarts in the race have neither websites or candidate statements. There is not much information to go on regarding their reasons for entering the race. Dr. Elias Teferi, who lists his occupation as Independent Educational Consultant, has put up a few signs in public places but has not made any further efforts in his campaign. He also endorsed Measure S, the school technology bond.

Monique Ketteringham responded to an email inquiry, saying she entered the race late and was not able to muster enough financial support to place a Candidate Statement on the ballot. Ketteringham says her priorities include supporting the arts within our district, tending to infrastructure, and seeing Measure S through. “I feel our school district needs a new, fresh voice on the board, someone who can relate to the needs and concerns of the parents and students that make up our community.” She is running a grassroots campaign, meeting and greeting people door to door as she, by her own admission, has not been able to do much fundraising prior to the campaign.

Both of the challengers are Democrats while all three of the incumbents are Republican, if that should matter to anyone in a non-partisan race.

There is an old adage that if something isn’t broke, don’t fix it. The current Tustin Unified School District governing board continues to do a good job in raising standards and pertinent student scores for academics while maintaining sound, fiscal policies. And, while I do not subscribe to Measure S, the technology bond, I believe their stewardship over Measure G demonstrates their capability to be responsible in the use of tax money. We’ll take the incumbents in this race.

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7 thoughts on “Our Picks for the School Board

  1. I agree that the three incumbents do a good job overall, but their lack of support for arts education is a little disheartening.

    • What leads you to believe they don’t support arts in education? And, both Teferi and Ketteringham have arts-in-school agendas but have said little else regarding academics.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • Agreed, It would have been interesting to learn more about Dr. Teferi because of their background. Also, I believe it is unfair to say that these candidates are not supportive the arts. Especially when Ms. Bullard has taken pride in being very supportive of the arts, as well as being artistic person herself (just look at what she does for a living).

        All of these incumbents have done a fabulous job since they have been in office, but it would have been nice to learn more about the other two candadites, especially Dr. Teferi but all I could find on the candidates is Teferi’s LinkedIn Profile Here:

        http://www.linkedin.com/pub/elias-teferi/23/889/4b2

        and Monique Ketteringham Smart Voter Profile saying that she has a BA from Cal Poly in Speech Communication: http://www.smartvoter.org/2012/11/06/ca/or/vote/ketteringham_m/

  2. Sir: I do have solid proof. It is called Tustin Unified School board of Trustees. They are on the record of recognizing that Ms. Scinto in fact lives in Laguna Beach (hosted a party in September for her College Alumni with her husband http://www.mville.edu/alumni/alumni-events/3979-manhattanville-visits-california.html) and it is not a secret within the district. They told her to keep a mailing address here back in 2007 when she ran. Just to the parents and voting populous. Ms. Scinto does still own a home here in the district, but she leads a very active life where she lives in Laguna Beach. I was simply asking that she follow the spirit of the law. I checked all facts. I have all the articles and photos. She and her husband kept under wraps the purchase of the home in Laguna Beach through one of their dummy corporations. But ok… I will bite. If she doesn’t live there, why support so many in politics there? I have her address in Laguna. I have the name of her company that bought it. I have the photos in the paper, of her family “Scinto family of Laguna Beach,” etc… what more are you seeking? Francine does not live here anymore. When she went on the record with you, as to where she lives, did she at least own up to the home in Laguna Beach?

    As to arts in the school? CUT elementary music. CUT Middle School Sports.

    • She, in fact, did.

      With all this proof, why haven’t you gone to the OCDA or filed a complaint with the FPPC?

      If owning a home in another part of the county and living there part time is a crime, you’d have to lock up quite a few politicians.

      • I did complain. From the mountain tops. It really would not help to go to the OCDA, as a OCADA (James Laird) is a sitting board member running. Register was working on a story on it last year, but suddenly stopped. Their archives alone are a gold mine of her life in Laguna Beach. The OCVOTE said they take an incumbent at their word on residency. You, yourself took Francine ( a seasoned politician) at her word. Just makes you wonder what else they bury or cover up. Good people wanted to run. They were told by a sitting member to not even try, as they could not win. And now we see the arrogance. Nary a sign, or a website, or a forum. Lawsuit updates on the TUSD website have been few and far between, and meanwhile money goes to pay for that debacle with the city. And yet on my side of town, Irvine has 9 running for 3 seats, and all are very active in their campaigns. Irvine, is our closest competitor and comparative when it comes to school district. We are no where near their success over all. I reached out to Monique. She said she did not have the money to run, but wanted to put her name out there. She goes door to door in her neighborhood. But I digress. Politicians are called out on residency all of the time, especially on school boards. In Francine’s case the voters and parents have the right to know where her allegiance is. Last time, the incumbents ran as a slate. Does not seem to be so this time. In the last election, Francine’s candidate statement touted her years as a resident, just as you do in your brief bio. This year, however, that part of her story is left out. Wouldn’t you assume a voter new to the scene would like to see how long you have lived here? It was carefully crafted. I like the work you do here. You seem pretty fair. That is why I brought it to your attention. Just as an FYI. Time for change in TUSD.

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