With the retention of incumbents Emma Turner and Bill Baber to the La Mesa-Spring Valley school board, voters decided on Tuesday to keep together a group that has served consecutively for years.
Turner, who has been involved with the District since 1998 in a variety of roles, was the top vote-getter, winning 37.3 percent of the vote. Baber, who was first elected to the board in 2004, finished second with 35.2 percent.
They received a challenge from Jay Steiger an active parent with the Mt. Helix Council of PTAs, and a frequent Patch blogger. Steiger won 27.5 percent of the vote.
Baber said of his win: “The results show that our community has confidence in our School Board’s focus on improving test scores and protecting taxpayers.”
The District did have widespread improvement of its API test scores based on results released last month by the state.
Baber also said [La Mesa-Spring Valley] was the first district in the County to enact a bond purchase policy that exceeds the tough standards set by the County Treasurer and the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.
"I am honored by the support of the voters," he added. "I want to thank all the volunteers who walked precincts, donated money, signed post cards, and made phone calls for this victory."
Turner and Steiger had received endorsements from the La Mesa-Spring Valley Teachers Association.
Superintendent Brian Marshall said the retention of the incumbents illustrates that voters think the district is on the right path for success.
"Strong consistent leadership is one of the hallmarks of a high performing school district," said Marshall. "With the reelection of Board members Turner and Baber the community has voiced their approval of the current district path – a path that led to the highest improvement in Language Arts scores in San Diego County and the second highest improvement in Math, seven California Distinguished Schools in the last three years, and a sound budget."
And speaking of the budget, Marshall said that he glad the Proposition 30 tax measure passed. In an email sent out to faculty and staff of the district, Marshall wrote:
"This is great news for public education in California and our district! With 30 passing we will avoid the $5.4 million in new cuts to LMSV. However, the passage of 30 does not begin to restore the cuts that have occurred over the past years - we are still over $25 million below our best budget from 2006-07.
For now, we can breathe a sigh of relief and, by avoiding any new cuts, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. The rest of this year will still be tight as the tax revenues have not been collected yet – we will still need loans to cover cash flow and will still need to watch our spending. We should receive a significant payment over the summer (if the tax projections hold), so next year should be better.
Hopefully, we are on the path to an education funding recovery!"