As I’ve reported in this column, the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) is transitioning from “at-large” elections of School Board members to a system of five geographically distinct, smaller “Area” elections. This year, just one area — Area 2, which includes University Park and the southern half of both Woodbridge and Westpark — has a contested election on November 6th. Long-time School Board incumbent Sharon Wallin is being challenged by Jean Anne Turner, a lifelong educator who was Irvine Middle School Teacher of the Year, not just once (in 1988), but also in 2000.
Jean Anne Turner’s slogan — “It’s Time to Put a Teacher on the School Board!” — really resonates with me. Jean Anne has long been concerned, as I have, that the Irvine School Board tends to spend a lot of time patting itself on the back, when it should be spending more time (and money) tackling some of the very serious issues facing IUSD and our entire Irvine community.
Let’s take something very familiar to just about everyone in Irvine — TRAFFIC. Yes, traffic is a school issue. I’m referring to the every-day traffic mess at and around our schools, Monday through Friday, mornings and afternoons. The problem — and the public safety hazard — is obvious. A solution is obvious too: It’s time to reinstitute a comprehensive school bus system in Irvine!
I’m pleased to see that Jean Anne Turner, running for a seat on the School Board, and City Council candidates Frank McGill and Jaci Woods, have all picked up on this idea, noting that it’s one way to significantly reduce Irvine traffic and improve public safety, especially in the 7:30 – 8:30 peak morning rush. But all three have noted that reinstituting a comprehensive school bus system will require planning, money, and — most important — some real leadership on both the School Board and on the City Council.
Sad to say, that kind of “get-it-done” leadership has been lacking on the IUSD Board and on the City Council for years now. That’s why I’m encouraging friends and neighbors to vote for Jean Anne Turner for School Board (Trustee Area 2)…and to cast their two City Council votes for Frank McGill and Jaci Woods. Full Disclosure: All three are friends of mine. But, more important, they are wonderful, capable people who are devoted friends of the Irvine community!
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