SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO : School Board Trims Candidate List to 3

Three candidates remain for the open seat on the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees after board members pared the field this week.

On Monday, trustees will select a replacement for Brian Demsey, who resigned earlier this month. Sonia Adelman, Kenneth H. Combs and Kathryn I. Itzel are the candidates to fill Demsey's term, which expires in November, 1992.

Eliminated by the board were Karen McNamara, Dorothy (Peggy) Edwards, William Charles Boos and Zygmunt Szcepanski.

"All of the candidates were good," said board President Paul B. Haseman. "But we thought we would take the opportunity to focus on three candidates, do a background check on each and ask questions about them in the community. It seems like a prudent thing to do."

District residents, if not happy with the board's choice, could demand a special election by collecting 1,500 signatures on petitions within 30 days of the appointment. The board could have called a special election, but decided not to after learning that it would cost $100,000.

Adelman is a 36-year-old former child care coordinator from San Juan Capistrano with children attending Marco Forster Junior High School and Capistrano Valley High School. She is a former PTA president and a member of the Anti-Defamation League. In a questionnaire given candidates by the board, she praised the district for bilingual education and music programs, but said she would like to see more cooperative arrangements with the business community.

Combs is a 44-year-old San Juan Capistrano business consultant and former attorney who has daughters attending Palisades Elementary School. He praised the district for its use of computers in the classroom, but said the board could do a better job of long-range planning.

Itzel is a 42-year-old businesswoman who lives in San Juan Capistrano. She has two children, one at San Clemente High School and the other at Marco Forster. She has been a member of several district committees, including the boundary and year-round school committees, and is a former PTA president. She has praised the management of the district, but said she is concerned about the needs of non-English-speakers, district funding and school overcrowding.

Demsey, a 48-year-old San Juan Capistrano insurance consultant, resigned because he no longer has children in the schools, which he believes is necessary to be an effective board member.

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