Name: Celia Jaffe
Residence: Huntington Beach for 23 years
Occupation: governing board member, Huntington Beach City School District; officer in Orange County level PTA
Education: bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in education from Stanford University
Experience as an educator: five years' classroom teaching
Previously elected or appointed positions: Trustee is my only public office; I've been elected or appointed to many school-related committees and PTA officer positions
Community organizations you belong to: local school PTAs, Huntington Beach Educational Foundation
Why should constituents vote for you?
I have devoted myself, for many years as a volunteer and now on the school board, to Huntington Beach City School District. With care and concern for our students, I have been able to adopt the painful budget cuts necessary to keep the district afloat during years of decreasing state funding, while the educational program has not only remained largely intact but in fact shown strides forward. All our schools are now above the Academic Performance Index goal of 800, and more than half are above 900.
What do you think is the biggest problem facing your district and how do you plan to address it?
Dwindling budget in the face of rising educational expectations and requirements is the problem facing every district in our state. I will continue to closely scrutinize all expenses, contracts and financial commitments; encourage creative thinking in terms of restructuring operations or stretching our funds to the max; keep the safety and educational experience of our students first and foremost; support our administration in seeking grant and categorical funding; advocate with the legislature for better support for our public schools; and express gratitude and appreciation for the outstanding job our teachers and support staff do every day with our students.
In the last year, what is one issue that you think the sitting board members handled well and why?
We on the board have put in place a far-reaching energy savings project which includes solar panels on several sites, efficient light fixtures throughout our facilities, and replacement of the worst air conditioning units in the district. No additional public funds were sought for this work as savings in our electric bills and tax incentives will cover the financed construction costs. I am proud that we are one of the first school districts in the state to take this environmentally responsible and fiscally sound step. We're putting our wonderful Huntington Beach sunshine to practical use.
In the last year, what is one issue the board got wrong and what would you have done differently?
Though I occasionally cast a dissenting vote, for example when our elementary school calendar does not match with the high school calendar, there have been no major board actions during my tenure that I regret.