Why should I re-elect you to the school board?

By Christine Lerma


Schools define a community in many ways. Schools are the reason that families stay in or leave a community. I can relate to this as a parent. I voted for a number of the current school board members over the past 8 years with the hope that things would change. As a parent with children in the school district now, the stakes are even higher for me. Now, I am sharing my experience and asking the school board members: Why should I re-elect you?

I have some concerns about children in our schools and I question what we hear from Alpine School District leadership. We hear a lot from our district about the importance of security and how that is a primary concern. Superintendent Newman states “We will continue to make safety our top priority.” Yet, I brought a serious security concern to the district’s attention over a month ago, including detailing my concern to the principal of Boulder Oaks Elementary School and Dr. Newman in an email. Nothing has changed.

Our school district provides Extended Student Services (ESS) which is essentially a service for before and after school supervision. This is a wonderful service provided by the district. I work full-time and I use ESS for my children. I drop them off at Boulder Oaks Elementary before going to work. On Aug. 25, I emailed both Principal Darcy and Superintendent Newman and told them of my great concern that the front security gate at Boulder Oaks is propped open at 6 a.m. to allow access to ESS at the back of the school. This means that anyone can access the school and children on campus beginning at 6 a.m. The gate remains propped open until office staff arrives a couple of hours later in the morning. I received a call from the principal at Boulder Oaks later that day. The principal asked me what ideas I had on how to solve the security problem. We talked about ideas, and she said she was going to work with ESS on what they could do and would let me know. As of Monday, nearly six weeks after I brought this to the principal and Superintendent Newman’s attention, the front security gate at Boulder Oaks is still propped open every morning, which puts our children at risk. I am really challenged by this.

At the beginning of the year, we were also told by the school district about the amazing things Alpine Union School District was doing. The district even put out a video about small class sizes in our schools. The reality is that all the 4th-grade classrooms at Boulder Oaks Elementary School have 31 or more students and I was told by a friend that more students would be added to some classes, increasing class size even more. This affects the education of our children. It also exceeds the California Department of Education mandate. This is where I expect the school board to step in. I still have not seen any current board member address this or heard from any school board member on how this will be addressed.

I have attended numerous school board meetings when members of the community share concerns like mine, and when I look at the school board meeting minutes, there is absolutely no detail regarding the concerns that community members share. I will continue to share my concerns with Alpine School Board members. I just hope that my views become a part of the official record of what is reported to the school board. So again, I ask: Why should I reelect the existing Alpine School Board members?

—Christine Lerma, Alpine


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