EUSD Board candidate: Leslie Schneider

Leslie Schneider grew up in Solana Beach and has lived in Encinitas since 1998. She and her husband Roger have an 11-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son, both at Flora Vista.

Schneider received her undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Communications and has worked for 13 years in the private sector, owning a small business for the past eight years, during which time she has worked with clients that include public sector “workforce investment boards” and California community college programming.

Schneider has served in PTA positions and volunteered in the classroom, and is currently on the School Site Council, the Encinitas Educational Foundation and coordinates her school’s reading program, Flora Vista Reads.

She is also active in community service, volunteering for Camp Pendleton family services and with the YMCA’s homeless youth street outreach program.

1. What specific qualities or experience do you have that make you the right choice for the EUSD board?

As a parent and a business owner, I see our school district from both the inside as it impacts my kids and their school mates, and from the outside as it manages the resources we provide. Surprisingly, the qualities most applicable today for a seat on the EUSD board seem to be as basic as common sense and an ability to balance needs versus wants. I am dumbfounded at the priorities our board has for our district. We have no district-wide math curriculum and no district-wide science curriculum. Parents at some of our campuses have to provide paper for the copy machines near the end of the year. Yet we have a farm, we have iPads for kindergarteners and we have yoga. If I was on the school board, I’d choose math and science first. I’d also fully fund our art and music programs and I’d reallocate funds to support lower teacher-to-student ratios.

2. Please choose one key issue you see as very important for EUSD at this time and, if elected, how you would tackle that issue?

If elected to the board I would advocate for examining best practice models from high achieving districts in California and across the nation and working collaboratively with teachers and staff to implement what works into EUSD. One example is redirecting existing resources to hire additional teachers and aides to provide more individualized learning for all our kids — high achievers, struggling students and those in the middle. Lower class sizes is the number one data-backed way to improve learning outcomes for our kids. Our teachers are asking for more facetime with our kids and more support in curriculum delivery and development. We are lucky to have excellent teachers in Encinitas schools. I will respond to our teachers and give them what they need to do the job they are trained to do and love to do.

3. What are some other issues you see as important for EUSD at this time and, if elected, how would you tackle those issues?

I am running for school board because I am committed to three areas of reform to improve our children’s education and future success: fiscal integrity, accountability and transparency.

Fiscal integrity: I promise to spend our scarce education dollars on fundamental, necessary curricula impacting important areas such as STEM and the critical support of special education teachers and learning intervention educators.

Accountability: I will listen and respond to parent and community concerns about all matters. I will work for you.

Transparency: I promise to ensure the public has access to important information and documents for timely inspection, as the Brown Act requires, and will ensure that our board is fully compliant with both the letter and the spirit of open meeting laws. I will advocate for live streaming of all public board meetings as well as the use of an online collaboration tool such as eConnect so that our working parents, those with little ones at home, as well as the community at large, are able to stay abreast of and participate in school board decision-making.

4. What do you see as some of the best things about EUSD?

The collaboration between teachers, staff and parents is fantastic in our district. Parents collectively donate about $2 million to our nine elementary schools every year. Parents also contribute thousands of hours of volunteer support in the classrooms, across campuses running programs and raising money. Parents do this because they believe in the teachers and their mission to educate our kids at the highest level. These relationships have also encouraged the implementation of creative and forward thinking programming at our school sites such as Makers Spaces at two of our campuses, the introduction of a UCSD-led program for free after school science instruction at one campus, a state of the art Green Room at one campus and specialized instruction in lab science, PE, foreign language, accelerated math, music and art.

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