Four candidates are campaigning for three seats on the Culver City Board of Education.
Seeking election on Nov. 5 are incumbents R. G. (Bob) Knopf and Kay Lyou and challengers Thelma Ayres and Julie Lugo Cerra. Longtime board member H. Lynn Brown is not seeking reelection.
Bernard Kirsch, co-president of the Blair Hills Homeowners Assn. and a former assistant superintendent of the Culver City Unified School District, described the campaign as "rather placid."
He said he was disappointed that only 15 people showed up at a forum sponsored by his association. "There simply isn't much controversy in any of the forum meetings that have been held," Kirsch said.
"Nobody gets excited about education matters unless a school is being closed, somebody is proposing sex education or something bad is happening to a someone's child."
The only candidate to register any criticism of the district has been Ayres, a 51-year-old housewife. She said that the district "could do better" in emphasizing basic education and is not doing enough for new Asian and Latino students.
"We have too many students in the district who can't read," she said.
Cerra, 40, an art services and design businesswoman and an adult school teacher, said her experience in school programs, such as childhood safety, and as a volunteer in city projects, will serve her well.
"I believe I will bring logic, leadership, fairness, energy and a positive approach to the board," she said.
Knopf, 42, an engineer, and Lyou, 55, a thesis consultant at UCLA, have emphasized their experience on the board during their campaign.
Knopf said that he and Lyou, elected four years ago, have made the board more responsive to people in the district seeking information about the schools.
"Kay and I have helped turn around the situation where the board previously was unresponsive," he said.
Lyou said one of the most important actions during her term was the replacement of the old junior high system with a middle school attended by students in grades 5 through 8. Ninth graders, who previously attended junior high, now go to high school.
She also said that, based on preliminary figures for this year, the district's rate of enrollment decline has decreased. "There still is a decline," Lyou said, "but it appears to be much less than in the past."
According to the latest enrollment figures, there has in fact been an increase in the district's enrollment this year, from 4,467 students last year to 4,538 this fall.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 5.