Tom Pollitt, founder of the Newport-Mesa Tea Party, has announced his intent to run for the Orange County Board of Education.
The 70-year-old Costa Mesa resident is seeking the District 2 seat, held since 2010 by David Boyd, also a Costa Mesa resident.
Boyd is serving out his first term on the five-member board and has applied for reelection in the June primary.
Pollitt, a small-business man, said his priorities include making sure that education funds go to the classrooms, not the administration, and improving the county's charter school system.
"I really want to promote parental rights," Pollitt said. "I want parents to have more choices."
Boyd is chancellor of the Taft University System, which operates a private law school in Santa Ana and a university in Denver.
Pollitt, who founded the local tea party group in 2010, said this is his first run for elected office. In Costa Mesa, he was among 13 people appointed to the Charter Committee, which, after 10 months of meetings, recently approved sending a proposed charter to the City Council.
He said he was also involved in his children's education as they grew up. One of his son's schools, a Lutheran campus in Santa Ana, was having financial issues and promoting programs that were not popular with parents, Pollitt said. He added that
he then joined a group that was able to make changes that helped increase the school's enrollment and its overall viability.
He also served two years on the board for Westminster Christian Academy, a private school near St. Louis, where Pollitt's family lived at the time.
Pollitt said his other concerns are Assembly Bill 1266, whose provisions include students' use of restrooms based not on their sex but their gender identity, and
the financial viability of Common Core, which he called an "unfunded mandate."
"It appears that there is not enough money to fully implement Common Core in a way that would help the kids," he said, adding that "like anything, you look at Obama healthcare. There's a lot of good things in it, but there's also some real concerns."
California should no longer be a low-ranked state when it comes to education, Pollitt said.
"California should be a leader in innovation," he said. "We're one of the leading states when it comes to new technology. I think through innovation and through leadership, we can improve that."