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School candidates sound off at forum

Molly Shore

More open dialogue with the community and the school district’s

expected deficit were the two main topics in a televised forum of

school board candidates hosted by the League of Women Voters of



Candidates vying for three school board seats are Larry Applebaum,

Roland Armstorff, William Birtell, Ted Bunch, Lisa Clement, Lynn

Gerred, Elena Hubbell, Steve Hulett, Dave Kemp, Paul Krekorian, Ira


Lippman, Mike McDonald, Saba Mokhtari, Richard Raad and Silva

Terteryan-Reyes. Birtell did not appear at the forum, and Clement

made a brief appearance, but left due to illness.

With less money expected from the state, Bunch said further budget

cuts are his top priority. He said district employees at the top of

the salary schedule should be encouraged to retire.

“Keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible,” Lippman



Hulett favors making cuts in the district’s administrative office.

Krekorian said if elected, he will require every bureaucratic

department in the district to justify its expenses before cutting

money from classrooms.

However, he added, “we can’t get where we need to go by cuts

alone. We have to find new revenue sources.”

Looking for new ways to generate additional money for the district

was foremost on Armstorff’s mind.


“We have to change the way we fund schools,” he said. “We can’t

rely on the state.”

Applebaum favors partnerships with local businesses to support the

resurgence of art programs in the elementary schools.

Incumbents Hubbell, McDonald and Raad defended accusations that

the board has been uncommunicative to teachers, parents and the


“It’s a two-way street,” McDonald said. “We’ll communicate with

you, but you’ve got to communicate with us, too.”

Mokhtari said she and other parents want to be heard.

“The board hears parents, but nothing is done. It’s always passed

to the school site,” she said.

Kemp said he would seek to improve communication between the board

and the public, and that the board needs to have better exchanges

with the City Council.

Gerred and Terteryan-Reyes favor more peace-building programs so

children will feel safer in school.

The primary election for school board members is Feb. 25.