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CEPS Makes Endorsements and Ratings for November 7 Election:

Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS), a political action committee that focuses on school issues, announced endorsements on Tuesday, October 3, in three races on the November ballot. It voted to endorse Gleam Davis for Santa Monica City Council; Emily Bloomfield, Kelly Pye and Barry Snell for SMMUSD Board of Education; and Louise Jaffe, David Finkel, Tom Donner and Nancy Greenstein for SMC Board of Trustees. CEPS told candidates that its primary mission is “to advocate for stable, reliable, ongoing funding for public education.”

The volunteer organization made its decisions after concluding a month-long “three-step” process: candidates were asked to answer a written list of questions; they were then invited for individual interviews with CEPS Steering Committee members on September 27 and 28; and finally, the committee voted on its endorsements and ratings. CEPS also voted to endorse Measure BB, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s School Safety and Repair Bond.

City Council

CEPS had voted in June 2006 to endorse Gleam Davis for Santa Monica City Council. The group chose a rating system for other City Council candidates to indicate whom it believes to be a reliable supporter of public education. (There are 10 candidates running for three open seats on the council.)

It rated incumbents Bob Holbrook and Kevin McKeown, along with challenger Terry O’Day, as “reliable” supporters of education. “All three have demonstrated an understanding of the needs of our public schools and have stated their intentions of continuing to provide support to our schools and our children in the future,” said the CEPS statement.

It did not rate the remaining six candidates for City Council, except incumbent Pam O’Connor, who the group rated as “unreliable.” “The rating was based upon O’Connor’s public disdain for the constituent movement that led to the City’s contract providing ongoing funds to our schools and her lack of commitment to support future funding,” the group stated.

SMMUSD Board of Education

The organization endorsed incumbent Emily Bloomfield and “longtime education activists” Kelly Pye and Barry Snell, but did not make any ratings in this race. (There are six candidates running for four open seats on the board of education.) The CEPS announcement said:

“Bloomflield, mother of three SMMUSD students, has been a passionate and well-respected champion for closing the achievement gap during her first term on the Board of Education. Pye has made a name for herself as an outspoken voice for low-income students in the district in her years of service to PTA, Site Governance and various education groups; she stresses partnership and collaboration as her mission on the Board. Snell is also a high-profile volunteer who has worked with PTA and school site groups to bring minority parents, especially African-American fathers, into the loop at Santa Monica High School and the middle schools.”

Santa Monica College

Board of Trustees

Here, CEPS endorsed Louise Jaffe, Nancy Greenstein, Tom Donner and David Finkel for SMC Board. It did not announce any ratings in this race either. (There are six candidates running for four open seats on the college board.) The Steering Committee said:

“Louise Jaffe brings an extraordinary commitment to community lifelong learning and a record of significant achievement in efforts to provide new resources for students. Nancy Greenstein is the only incumbent and the current board chair; her long record of community service and leadership has been especially beneficial to the College and merits her re-election. Tom Donner’s 30-year record of trust and service has contributed to SMC becoming one of the top 10 community colleges in the country; his institutional memory is most needed with the retirement of three long-serving trustees. David Finkel’s lifetime of service to the community will provide Santa Monica College with both wisdom and strength.”

The full list of CEPS questions as well as each candidate’s complete answers are available to the public at www.excellentpublicschools.org.

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