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Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

3 of 5 RJUHSD school board members near the end of their terms

Screenshot of RJUHSD Board Meeting at The District Office (March 12th, 2024)

   This November, three of the five RJUHSD Education Board members are going to reach the end of their four-year terms, making this year’s local election particularly significant. 

   Within the community, many voters have already decided their presidential vote. However, far less prior thought is given to the School Board Elections, despite the direct effects the Board’s decisions have on their community. 

   Heidi Hall, whose term as Vice President of the School Board expires this year, initially joined the board in 2020 out of a desire to see change in the community: to reopen schools.

   “Those small local-level decisions impact our day-to-day, everyday life,” Hall said. “Sometimes more than those big national elections can.”

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   When it comes to researching the candidates that may replace the empty seats later this year, those in the running typically have a website with an email and phone number for voters who wish to contact them. 

   “They need to ask candidates questions and vote for someone that they feel reflects their own priorities and values,” Marla Franz, the clerk of the board with a remaining two years on her term, said.

   Franz, like Hall, was also originally motivated to attend board meetings in an attempt to help reopen schools during the pandemic. Attending these meetings brought to Franz’s attention the importance of the School Board to the community, eventually resulting in her decision to run for her district’s position on the board. 

   Tiffany Coleman, having been provisionally elected partially through the term, also recognizes the importance of the Board, more specifically those who form it. 

   “Choosing people who represent what you hope for for your community, is…vitally important,” Coleman said.

   When she completes her term later this year, after having held the office for almost a year, Coleman is planning to run for her current position again in the upcoming elections. 

   “I just want to encourage people to work together to think the best of others and…build on what we have in common and not act on fear,” Coleman said. “I think within our community, most people have a similar desire, and that’s to create excellent schools, to invite good teachers in, and to help our students,” Coleman said.

   Another recent appointment to the school board who has expressed interest in running for reelection is Keri Kochhar. She was appointed in February of this year.

   “Local boards, committees, and political positions have a great deal of influence to maintain so many aspects of our life in a city, “Kochhar said in an email to Granite Bay Today, “The decisions they make regarding policy, growth, management, etc. directly influence residence quality of life.” 

   School boards can influence policy with their votes. The power of the individual voter comes in when the officials on them are to be chosen. All the members that have reached the end of their terms have expressed an interest in holding their positions for another term.

   “School board elections specifically, shape the future of education in a community by monitoring progress and giving direction as needed to improve areas of need,” Kochhar said. “A school board acts sort of like a check and balance to ensure the culture of schools, rigor of education, and policies are being followed as intended.” 

   Meg Wiese, a mother within the community, held strong perspectives about topics being dealt with by the school board just over a year ago, prompting her to begin regularly attending the meetings. She now speaks these opinions, on topics such as mental health and communication between teachers, parents, and students, directly to the board members at their board meetings, ensuring that her views are heard and taken into consideration. 

   “I have always come just because I want to advocate for our students,” Wiese said,

   “I’m always here just because I want every kid to have everything they need in the public school system.” 

   There are also opportunities outside of voting and the board meetings themselves in which individuals can advocate for improvements. For example, the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) discusses information such as survey results and selected programs in a private setting. For the LCAP, there are three positions for which students may run. 

   “For high school students you want them to be engaged and empowered to take responsibility,” Wiese said.

   The School Site Council (SSC) holds meetings that are open to the public in which they provide input on the School Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA). The Curriculum and Instruction Leadership Team (CILT) is another district group that reviews and discusses data in order to bring more transparency to the relationship between those who work in education and the community. 

   Both the SSC and CILT create agendas each month that contain public comment forms linked on the last page. These forms are the most direct and easily accessible tools to provide input.

   “You can’t complain about schools if you’re not willing to step up and try to make a difference,” Franz said.

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About the Contributors
Esha Suhag
Esha Suhag, Staff Writer
Esha Suhag is a freshman at Granite Bay High School. This is her first year as a staff writer for Granite Bay Today.
Kendra Seagraves
Kendra Seagraves, Staff Writer
Kendra Seagraves is a junior at Granite Bay High School. This is her first year as a staff writer for Granite Bay Today.

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