SBUSD School Board Elections

On November 8th of this year, the Santa Barbara Unified School District board elections will be held. People who are eighteen years of age and older will be able to vote for a variety of candidates running for seats that hold influence for multiple districts. Ironically, it is the students that are under eighteen years of age that will be most impacted by the effects of the changes implemented by the candidates. What makes this SBUSD election different from the past ones is that it incorporates a brand new neighborhood voting system which will give citizens easier access to voting methods such as ballot boxes, voting stations and voting through the mail.

As of October 12th, there are two candidates running for seats in the SB School District board for area 1(the area that includes SMHS). Those two candidates are Dan La Berge and Efigenia Banales.

Dan La Berge:

La Berge has no prior experience in the local Santa Barbara political world nor has he had experience as an educator. However, he is confident that because he is a father of three and the executive director of the non-profit organization Mother’s Helpers, which prides itself on providing mothers in need of baby supplies and toys, he is justified to be elected for a position that surrounds itself in the care and security of the futures of children. So far, La Berge has stressed the importance of ethnic study classes, increasing the rate of early literacy in students, and addressing racism in schools. 

In an interview with Noozhawk, La Berge stated, “So much of everything we are going to do in school comes back to literacy. If their literacy is challenged, how are they going to apply that to other subjects?”

Lawn sign shows support for candidate Dan La Berge Image courtesy of Roman Trovato

Efigenia Banales:

Like La Berge, Banales is also a parent. Where she may lack in management of non-profit organizations, she makes up for in her over 26 year long involvement in SBUSD under the titles of Elementary School Office Coordinator and Bilingual/Special Education Paraeducator. Banales was born and raised in Mexico City where she eventually found herself studying law and moved to Santa Barbara in 1985. A year ago she retired from the SBUSD, but is now seeking reelection with goals to create clearer communication with parents, supplying schools with the necessary resources, and increasing in paraeducators.

Additional SBUSD candidates who are running for the trustee area #4 include Pheobe Mansur and Rose Munoz. Candidate Gabe Escobedo is running against Balanes and La Berge for trustee area #1.