Meet the Rancho Santa Fe School District board candidate: Lorraine Brovick-Kent

Name: Lorraine Brovick-Kent

Years living in the RSF School District:

16 years and a San Diego native

Profession/education:

Retired; Former managing director at National Decision Systems, a subsidiary of Equifax. Bachelor of Science from SDSU.

Community activities:

San Diego County Taxpayer Association member; League of Women Voters member; PTO member and/or Foundation member for the last 15 years; Past Council member for Solana Ranch Girl Scout Service Unit working with membership development at R. Roger Rowe School, as well as Troop leader for eight years; RSF Community Center volunteer on Back to School Bash, fundraising programs like the Gala and holiday events; Children’s Hospital RSF Auxiliary lifetime membership, since 1997, serving in various positions and working on numerous fundraising events over the years.

1.) Why are you running for a seat on the RSF School board?

I have three main reasons for running for a seat on the RSF School Board. First, as a parent and as a property owner in Rancho Santa Fe, I am proud of our highly rated school, as are most of us in this special community, and I would like to bring the benefit of my long experience with the school and my passion for educational excellence to the board. I want ours to become the #1 school in San Diego County.

Second, as a taxpayer, I want to help ensure that we spend our considerable community investments wisely – that we are getting the best possible education for the amount of money spent.

Finally, I believe that community participation, a variety of viewpoints, and transparency of operations are absolutely essential to obtaining the best outcomes from elected bodies. I believe I offer the board some fresh perspective and a useful point of view as a long-time parent and taxpayer of this community.

2.) What experience/qualifications would you bring to the board that you think would be beneficial?

I bring long experience as an involved parent and community member, with a strong business background that enables me to make informed decisions. To prepare for this candidacy, I have spent the last 15 months attending all RSF School board meetings and school workshops to familiarize myself with the issues before the current board members.

With over 16 years of experience at the school, having two children who have graduated and one who still attends the elementary school, I am intimately familiar with the student experience at our school and with the challenges our students face after 8th grade.

My background in information systems will help me analyze complex issues, make data-driven decisions, and communicate to the public in clear terms for all to understand. I have the confidence to ask tough questions when necessary and I can be productive from day one.

3.) What do you think are the biggest issues facing the RSF School District?

Thanks to the diligence of our administration and previous board members, and the support of the community, we are relatively free of serious issues. Our children attend a high-performing school, located in safe and beautiful facilities, nestled within a generous community.

That said, we must resist complacency and continue to strive for excellence and continuous improvement if we are to remain competitive with other schools in the area. We must also avoid over-spending by insisting on goals, measurements, and regular reviews of our programs and other expenditures.

In short, we want to be the district with the top school, not just the one that spends the most money.

4.) Do you have any suggestions as to how the biggest issue in your answer for #3 should be addressed by the board?

On the issue of reaching for the top position among schools in San Diego County, I don’t wish to second guess our educators who design and implement curricula for a living. I believe we just need to invigorate and sharpen our focus a bit. As a board member, I would like to ensure that the administration and the board have the best possible information with which to steer the ship. I would like our school to set measurable academic goals that are higher than the minimums set by state and federal mandates, and higher than the minimum expectations of our local high schools. I would like to see objective assessments of programs so we can identify real strengths and weaknesses. Analysis of the costs and benefits of programs and expenditures will help us put the tax dollar to its highest and best use. Open communication is essential to garnering the trust and support of parents and the community, and I would like to see more communication in both directions between the board and the community.

5.) What do you think of the use of capital appreciation bonds by school districts?

I believe that Capital Appreciation Bonds (CAB) are most beneficial to school districts that are experiencing high growth and have an immediate need to finance capital improvements. By deferring payments out 15-25 years, the tax burden is shared with the presumed larger population base down the road. However, districts with flat growth might find a better financing mechanism. In the current case of the Poway School District, the investors who hold the CAB’s appear to be receiving an unreasonably high yield at the taxpayer’s expense. Our district would be prudent to set careful policies and standards against which we are allowed to issue CABs. For example, a school district should have projected accelerated growth using objective demographics data for a set number of years before using Capital Appreciation Bonds. In the interest of transparency, the public should be made aware of who is promoting the use of bonds and who benefits from them.  School districts must ensure that personal financial gain is not the motivation for marketing bonds to the community as an educational necessity. The RSF School District currently has three series of Capital Appreciation Bonds issued from the 2004 and 2008 school bond initiatives.

6.) Any other comments about your candidacy or the district you would like to make at this time?

My goals are simple and straightforward: Higher academic achievement to compete in county, state, and national ranks; prudent use of funds from taxpayers and charitable contributors; and open communication.  I want to raise the bar but not the budget, and I have many ideas. For example, I would like to see RSF become the educational leader in academic innovation through local industry partnerships. We could explore working with our local high schools to give our middle school students the opportunity to collaborate on special science, math and English programs.

In short, my focus will be on raising the bar on student achievement to ensure success for all students within a fiscally sound district. Please visit my website for more information. www.RSFschoolboard.com

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