The seven members of the Sacramento County Board of Education see to the education of kids who are expelled, incarcerated or severely disabled; ensure teachers are trained and supported; oversee school district finances; and, among other duties, handle charter school appeals.
In 2016, charter advocates poured nearly $500,000 into SCOE races, electing two board members. This year’s race in Area 3, which overlaps the San Juan, Twin Rivers and Sacramento City Unified school districts, pits charter executive Paul Keefer, 51, against Sac State professor and former San Juan school trustee Richard Launey, 73.
Keefer runs the independent nonprofit Heritage Peak Charter School, sponsored by the Twin Rivers district. He also has children in public schools, so he’s familiar with both educational models and their needs.
But Launey, 73, is more deeply experienced and gets our endorsement. A lifelong educator with deep roots in Area 3, he served eight years as a San Juan trustee and still sits on the education foundation board. He says he is open to charters where needed, with strong accountability.
North Sacramento’s Area 2 – which includes the Natomas, Robla, Elverta, Center Joint and part of the Twin Rivers districts – has three strong contenders. Our endorsement goes to Nate Pelczar, 40, a management consultant with four years on Natomas Unified’s bond oversight committee. Active in Sacramento Stonewall Democrats, his endorsements include NUSD President Scott Dosick and Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
Ray Green, a program manager at the Roberts Family Development Center, has a history of working with at-risk kids, a passion for public service, a wife who is a teacher and strong roots in the African American community. But at just 29, he needs more experience.
At a recent legislative hearing, representing his church, he alarmed some of his supporters by opposing a bill to give “conversion therapy” a fraud classification. He later explained he doesn’t support the anti-gay practice, but had read the bill was so loosely worded it might infringe on pastoral counseling.
Career counselor Karina Talamantes is also 29. A daughter of immigrant farmworkers and UC Davis graduate, she has worked for 10 years in federal programs for low-income students. The California Teachers Association and Steinberg have endorsed her. Like Green, she’s a fresh face with a lot to offer, and we hope to see more of her.
In District 1, which includes most of Sac City and small parts of the Elk Grove and Twin Rivers districts, Bina Lefkovitz is unopposed.