Rx for schools

Area 6 (Pocket, Greenhaven)

Darrel Woo

We’d count ourselves lucky if Darrel Woo became the representative of Area 6 (Pocket, Greenhaven) on the Sacramento City Unified School District board. Woo—an attorney with the California Department of Insurance and former city planning commissioner—is a longtime public servant who believes in giving back to his community. He thinks teacher tenure agreements are outdated but opposes ending them, and opposes tying teacher evaluations to test scores, as some (like Mayor Kevin Johnson) would like to see. Instead, he suggests a peer-review process. Though not opposed to charter schools, Woo is more interested in improving our public education system. Woo’s opponent in this race—Shane Singh—is a good man, but too conservative for us on education and in general. We strongly recommend Woo.

Area 1 (Land Park, Curtis Park, Downtown, Midtown)

Ellyne Bell

Three candidates are running for the SCUSD board in Area 1. Paige Powell’s heart is in the right place, but she doesn’t seem to have a firm grasp of the issues at stake, nor of the realities involved in navigating a course that will meet the needs of all the stakeholders in the district. That makes it a really tough choice between incumbent Ellyne Bell and her other challenger, David Ross. Ross offered some very thoughtful and moderate responses to SN&R’s questions, and has been involved in a number of committees and groups working with the current board. His genuine concern for education makes him someone we hope will stay involved with local school issues and perhaps make another run for the board in the future. However, given Bell’s experience and her very good performance during her term on the board, we’d like to see her stick around during a tough time. We’re recommending a vote for Bell.

Area 2 (Midtown, East Sacramento, Elmhurst)

Jeff Cuneo

We like Area 2 candidate Mary Hernandez a great deal, but wound up feeling that Jeff Cuneo makes a better choice for this particular office at this time. An assistant public defender, Cuneo’s career choice reflects a commitment to helping juveniles caught up in the justice system; he knows firsthand about the young people in our community that we’re losing to gangs and delinquency. He’s shown that he knows how to be independent in the mayor-vs.-the union fight. Cuneo has vowed to advocate for a public comprehensive high school for Area 2 children. He believes a change to teacher tenure should be considered, such as a multimetric but fair system, rather than one focused solely on test scores. Despite this, he managed to get the Sacramento City Teachers Association’s endorsement. So that’s a good sign. We recommend Cuneo.