By J.D. Hawk
With Halloween around the corner, lines from horror movie scripts may cross the minds of many, especially with Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD) Board Trustee Patrick Judd.
According to a recent article Judd had planned on retiring from the CVESD board this year until he heard that teachers’ advocate, Jill Galvez, was planning to take his spot. Though Galvez had run unsuccessfully against Larry Cunningham in 2002 for the board, she nonetheless captured an impressive 46 percent of the vote more than likely scaring the begeebeez out of the “Old Guard.”
Galvez realized in 2002 that there was a large core of parents who were unsatisfied with the direction and results of the school board in general. Galvez stated that back in ’02 she had no intention to run until she learned that not one of the three board seats up for reelection was being challenged. It was a spur of the moment decision back then, and despite a lack of campaign experience and organization she still managed to garner over 17,000 votes.
Galvez didn’t consider running in 2004 until the board took action to raise class size, with Judd’s full support. She helped lead a parent protest to convince the board to reverse their decision.
Galvez said she has received endorsement by the teacher’s union and approximately 450 to 500 teachers from the CVESD who are actively participating in her campaign.
She’s baaaack. Then, just like the spirits in “Poltergeist II,” she has made her spirit known with noisy disturbances, shaking, rattling and knocking at the Good Ol’ Boy school house. Galvez was backback fighting for teachers, back fighting for children’s issues, and yes, back running for the board once more. Her presence may chill the spines of some, but for many discontented teachers and parents, this is a welcome and beautiful Halloween horror. They have lined up rank and file to support her.
Kathy Scott, kindergarten teacher at Rosebank Elementary, has called over 100 registered voters. Pat Bowler, retired second-grade teacher, and Mario Nido, Otay teacher, have orchestrated human billboarding for Galvez. Jim Groth, Loma Verde teacher, has called dozens of registered voters. Jill Green, Sunnyside teacher, held a coffee in her home, and has devoted her Saturdays to precinct walking. Paula Perry, Valley Vista teacher, organized an event for active Valley Vista parents to meet Galvez and discuss their concerns. Michelle and Jonathan Harms, Tiffany teachers, have donated paper for printing phone bank lists and called Tiffany voters. Terri Hogan-Spurgeon, Castle Park teacher, has walked precincts. The list goes on and on...
Galvez has a plan for the Hispanic community, which she believes feels left behind at the CVESD. Galvez has championed an idea called early English acquisition. The goal is to get Spanish-only speaking students to learn the English language at a substantially faster rate, with a focus on a viable program in biliteracy for the district. Another key component with Hispanic students is High Expectations. If we focus on High Expectations and provide the teachers with the support to achieve these expectations then High Expectations will be meet.
And with the Mexican Day of the Dead shadowing the largest election in four years, and Hispanics traditionally showing up in noticeably larger percentage numbers in presidential elections, the bilingual Jill, no doubt, will spook status quo yet again.
She’s not a Bonita resident like four out of five of the current members. Hitting hard at the motivational differences between the candidates, whereas Galvez supporters are usually teachers giving $25 checks, Galvez points out that Judd has received much larger sums from contributures such as developers and Wal-Mart family member John Walton $16,000 in 2000).
According to Galvez’ campaign, Judd received $25,000 for his campaign from the following:
$10,000 Douglas Barnhart Inc. (a school construction contractor)
$400 Douglas Barnhart executives
$5,000 PMR Palmer of Carlsbad
$3,000 from the Otay Project LP
$2,500 McMillin Enterprises
$1,000 FBA Engineering of Newport Beach
$1,000 Nack & Associates of Oceanside
$500 Innovative Energy Services
“Not a single parent or teacher has contributed to Judd’s campaign so far,” Galvez said. “What do these contractors have to do with education? They don’t even live in our district!”
Judd has held his position since 1988. “Our community has changed a lot in 16 years, but Patrick Judd’s view has stayed the same,” she said.
And Judd already serves as superintendent of the Mountain Empire Unified School District, a position that likely requires a lot of time to perform responsibly. Some have questioned how Judd could effectively serve both as superintendent so far away, and serve the people of Chula Vista.
Galvez will say that Judd really hasn’t served the people of Chula Vista. “He doesn’t care to get input on what the community wants,” she said. “He feels very strongly about his own views.”
In fact, Galvez recommended he should perhaps turn in an application for an administrative position where that type of head-strong personality may be in line. “The job of being a board member is to represent the people. If he wants a job in an administrative position, he should apply for a job as an administrator.”