Our schools need, deserve better leadership


By Lisa Sweet, Arlene Dutchik, Lesley Ballard and Kelli Politoski

DMUSD parents

Del Mar School Board President Steven McDowell recently stated he is planning to run for political office in November, but is unsure of which office that will be. He has told community members he is looking to run for reelection to the Del Mar Union School District board, run for the San Dieguito High School District School Board or Del Mar City Council. Come again? Apparently it doesn’t matter to McDowell which office he holds; he just wants a title and it doesn’t matter which one.

Let’s review a little history over the past few months on McDowell’s performance as a current DMUSD board member. In April 2010, when the board voted on the termination of Supt. Sharon McClain, McDowell abstained from the vote. When asked by a local reporter his rationale for abstaining, he was quoted as saying, “I haven’t articulated yet an answer to that. I don’t have a good answer for that yet.”

He was also asked: Would the vote have turned out differently if it had been taken in closed session? McDowell answered, “Possibly.”

Would you have changed your vote if it had been in open session?

McDowell: “More likely I might have changed my vote if I was asked (to be) the first one to vote and not the last one.”

Really? As a board member, one’s opinion should not shift with the wind. Leadership involves making tough decisions. Voting yes or no on important issues is what board members are elected to do. We should all expect and demand that from our elected officials.

We need candidates who are serious about serving their communities and show real leadership in these challenging fiscal times.

McDowell’s behavior over the last four years has made it clear that he is not that candidate. The citizens of this district require more than just a warm body. The elementary and high school districts are in need of elected officials who have the best interest of its constituency at heart, are willing to make tough decisions and are not political opportunists.