Solana Beach School District candidates share their views

Solana Beach School District will have by-trustee elections with its new five-area map this November.

This will be the Solana Beach School District’s first election since transitioning to trustee areas from at-large elections. Candidates Gaylin Allbaugh and Chuck Ringer are hoping to fill the Area 4 seat, which represents the community of Pacific Highlands Ranch and portions of Carmel Valley and Rancho Santa Fe.

The Area 1 seat represents Solana Beach west of I-5, with candidates Aubrey Huff and Debra Schade in the running. Aubrey Huff could not be reached to participate.

Meet the candidates in alphabetical order, in their own words:

Gaylin Allbaugh
(Copyright of Gaylin Allbaugh)

Gaylin Allbaugh, Area 4
I’m running for re-election to the Solana Beach School Board to represent the communities of PHR, RSF and Carmel Valley. I am dedicated to ensuring our Solana Beach schools deliver the best educational experience for our students. I am committed to small class sizes, inclusion in our classrooms, financial transparency, and connecting our parents and community to our school board. I take pride in modeling the civility, inclusion and respect that we expect of our students. I believe in collaboration over conflict. As a parent of four children, I hold our School Board accountable to do what is best for all students. My family has lived in Trustee Area #4 since 1999 and I have served in volunteer leadership roles in our schools since 2010. I am proudly the only candidate with children presently attending our schools. I am at our schools every day and hold our schools accountable to provide a best-in-class-education. I respectfully ask for your vote for re-election.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the district?
The answer is three-fold. First, identifying and addressing the unique needs of each of our students and ensuring each of our students feels safe and connected to their school is necessary to their success. Anxiety, feelings of isolation and learning loss are still being felt across our K-6th schools and we must be able to support the needs of all of our students and families. Second, we must deliver a fiscally responsible budget so that we can continue to offer this support along with the highest quality education, small class sizes and retain top-notch teachers at our schools for generations to come. Third, the School Board must continue to listen to the needs of our students and families, while ensuring we have a learning environment that enables all of our students to achieve their full potential and prepare them for success in middle school, high school and beyond.

What do you think about how the board currently functions and what you can bring to this board?
I am committed to safeguarding the civility, intelligent discourse and respectful expression of opposing viewpoints that are essential for a high-functioning school board. I believe deeply in the necessity of a governance model for our school board to maintain focus on student achievement. As a parent with students attending the district schools, I value the voice of our students, parents and community members. I am committed to ensuring our schools prepare our students to be well-balanced and be able to achieve their full potential. I am committed to supporting the diverse needs of our students. The Solana Beach School Board has demonstrated its commitment to open communication, opportunities for community input and collaboration and a steadfast focus on doing what is best for the students of our district. This has also been my guiding principle during my first term, and I pledge to tenaciously uphold these tenets if re-elected.

Chuck Ringer, Area 4

Chuck Ringer
(Danielle Miranda)

I am a father of three, a robotics engineer and I have hands-on experience managing organizations the size of our school district. I care deeply about our local schools and my three children will start attending Solana Ranch next year. I strongly believe in evidence-based education. Therefore, I am committed to ensuring that kids in trustee area 4 have equal access to the small class sizes, music, and arts resources that children elsewhere in our district enjoy.

After receiving my master’s degree in engineering from Johns Hopkins, I worked for the Chief of Naval Operations creating research and development programs to protect our troops. Following that assignment, I continued to work in the public interest, managing research programs with complex government budgets. I have practical experience in the mechanics of government finance, and I have successfully lead organizations the size of our school district through budgetary uncertainty.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the district?
The issue I am most passionate about is ensuring that our small communities in Pacific Highlands Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe have a voice on the board. With the shift to trustee areas, this election is truly the first opportunity our community has had to have a local representative. I believe that with your vote and my advocacy, we can ensure that our kids have equal access to small class sizes, music, and arts.

Pragmatically, the multimillion-dollar budget deficits that the district has run for the last four years is the most pressing issue. I did a comparison with neighboring DMUSD and found that they spent about 10% more of their budget on classroom salaries than our district and still balanced their budget. I will look to leverage our neighboring district’s experience to improve our financial execution and to refocus our spending priorities on our children’s classrooms.

What do you think about how the board currently functions and what can you bring to this board?
I am thrilled that we finally shifted to trustee areas. I believe this change will provide each unique community the opportunity to have their voice heard. Pacific Highlands Ranch has yet to have an advocate on the board and that lack of representation has had consequences. Our students face larger class sizes, long commutes and a smaller share of district music and arts resources than students in neighboring schools.

I believe that the board needs to focus on its core job – ensuring that all district students have equal access to a high-quality education. I was embarrassed when our board made the news by unanimously voting to ban books depicting diverse families and then streamlined the process to ban curricular materials. I strongly believe that public schools have a duty to promote a message of tolerance for all people, regardless of their protected class, identity, or belief system.

Debra Schade
(Copyright of Debra Schade)

Debra Schade, Area 1
I believe in public education and am passionate about the Solana Beach School District. I am currently Board Vice President and serve on the Executive Board of the San Diego County School Boards Association. I am the elected State Director for the California School Boards Association representing school board members in San Diego. I have an advanced degree in Public Health and over 39 years in education, research, technology and business. My three children have had the great fortune of attending, and flourishing in our schools. The Solana Beach School District has a reputation for excellence and celebrating the whole child. Our award winning district, innovative programs and quality child centered education have made SBSD a district of choice. I am seeking re-election because I have the passion, commitment and experience to continue to make a difference for our students. I pledge to always put students first in all decisions and work every day to maintain Solana Beach School District’s reputation of excellence.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the district?
The greatest challenge facing our district is funding. California public school budgets continue to be impacted by rising special education costs and the current acceleration of employee pension obligations. The Solana Beach School District has been able to weather these challenges due to healthy district reserves. As a board member I have championed transparency in our district budgeting process and provided strong fiscal oversight to ensure the long term financial health of our schools. I am active in legislative advocacy at the regional, state and federal level with our elected representatives to secure full and fair funding for California public schools, increased federal funding for special education, enhanced supports for our student mental health programs and other important issues that are key to the success of public education and our district.

What do you think about how the board currently functions and what can you bring to this board?
Our board has a reputation for strong governance and putting the students at the center of all decision making. Proven leadership and thoughtful, collaborative decision making will keep our schools strong. As a board member I pledge to engage, educate and innovate to provide the highest quality child-centered education for every student.

Students First: My highest priority remains providing an academically rigorous education, rich in diversity, meeting each child’s individual needs in a safe and supportive learning environment - providing an educational environment where every child knows they belong, knows they matter and knows they are safe.

Cooperative Partnerships: Support cooperative partnerships between teachers, parents, community and administration that cultivate academic achievement for all students.

Excellence: Prioritize excellent academic programs by maintaining small class sizes, recruiting and retention of outstanding staff, managing growth and voter-approved modernization projects, and providing sound fiscal responsibility and transparency for long term financial health of district.

I am supported by parents, teachers, community leaders, district employees and elected officials. Read more of my story at