Robert M. Salas, appointed last year to the Santa Paula Union High School District board, is running for a four-year term. He is being challenged by candidates Eugene Marzec and Eric Barragan. Key issues in the race include making plans to avoid school crowding, improving communications between parents and educators, and creating safe campuses.
Occupation: College student
Education: Attended Santa Paula High School; three years of general education courses with an emphasis on journalism at Ventura College; now majoring in education and English at Cal Lutheran University
Background: Barragan, born and raised in Santa Paula, is secretary of the Latino Town Hall, a grass-roots civic organization. He was given the 1995 Youth Leadership Community Service and Academic Achievement Award.
Issues: Barragan believes the lack of communication among teachers, faculty and parents is the biggest problem. He wants schools to do a better job of informing parents of school curricula and activities. He favors holding neighborhood meetings to get parents more involved. Barragan supports having teachers attend workshops and conferences to update their skills and says if the teachers are motivated, the students will be too.
Occupation: Retired administrator
Education: Attended Northern Illinois State Teachers College; master's degree in school administration from Northern Illinois State University
Background: Marzec, a two-term board member of the Santa Paula Elementary School District, has been a principal of three Santa Paula schools for 15 years and taught elementary and junior high school for 40 years. All three of his children attended Santa Paula schools and are now teachers.
Issues: Marzec plans to set a long-term goal to ease crowding in classrooms. He plans to establish an atmosphere for success and set high expectations for administrators, teachers and students. He favors working closely with the administrators and making sure they are well assisted.
Robert M. Salas
Occupation: Retired district attorney investigator
Education: Associate's degree in police science from Ventura College, bachelor's degree in social science from University of La Verne, graduate of the FBI National Academy of law enforcement
Background: Salas, an incumbent, was born and raised in Santa Paula and has spent 30 years in law enforcement. Before being a trustee, he served on the school's Budget Advisory Committee.
Issues: Salas' key issues include working closely with Santa Paula police to keep students safe, raising SAT scores, maintaining a high student GPA average and supporting the honors program. Salas favors block scheduling that breaks the school day into three 95-minute sessions and supports efforts to create more after-school tutoring.