My name is Heather Slosar and I was recently defeated in a run for a seat on the school board of Rancho Santa Fe. The majority of voters have spoken and prefer to maintain the status quo. The elected candidates are very qualified men and I am sure they will do their best to serve our school. I would like to thank those of you who voted for me and would like to urge you to get involved if you too would like to see some changes at our fine school. Change can be a good thing.
Hopefully my time and effort were not wasted. I shone a light on some areas that many preferred to keep hidden or did not agree were priorities (i.e. improve ranking, bring foreign language back to elementary, improve middle school so it can be the best middle school around whether public or private). We have the money. Let’s use it to be the best and have unique offerings that set us apart from the rest.
I would like to tell you what motivated me to run for the school board because as a mother of five young children I already have plenty on my plate. A little over a year ago I started attending school board meetings. I soon found out that being an outsider at a school board meeting felt frustrating. The board does not permit asking questions or making any comments at any time during the meetings. The only time a parent is allowed to speak at a school board meeting is at the public comment section at the beginning of the meeting before the agenda items are discussed. In my experience the board only ever said “Thank you” and did not address the issues that I or others raised. For example, many months ago I researched our school’s rankings and noticed a downward trend in our scores (at the time our ranking was 19th in the County). I presented this to the school board and asked “How is the board going to address this?” and was simply told, “Thank you.” I felt invisible.
There was no conversation, no comment by the board or administration, no follow-up or mention of this at future meetings. It wasn’t even in the minutes. This got me very frustrated and I realized that if I wanted to effect any change I would need to be on the inside. I have presented to other boards in our town (Art Jury, Trails and Rec., Tennis Board, RSF Association Board) and even if they did not agree with what I was concerned with at least I felt like I had a voice. At least they engaged with me. For example, I presented to the RSF Association Board and subcommittees of the board to get a playground approved in our town. It took almost two years but with a lot of perseverance and a board that was willing to listen it has been approved and constructed.
I urge those of you who want to see some changes, like foreign language, improved rankings, or your own concerns, to get involved and make your voice heard. You can go to the school board meetings (or at least get on the email list for meeting minutes), speak with your elected board members or administrators. This is our school. It may be one of the best schools around but what’s wrong with wanting to make it even better?