Education has been front-and-center during the pandemic. As school districts, parents and students struggle with how to get back to school safely, school board elections are more important than ever.
And now, at the board of San Diego Unified, three of five seats are up for grabs in the November election.
Sabrina Bazzo and Crystal Trull are both running for the seat in District A, which covers north central San Diego, including University City, Clairemont and Madison High Schools.
Incumbent Richard Barrera and Camille Harris are running to represent District D, which covers south central San Diego including Hoover High School.
Incumbent Sharon Whitehurst-Payne and LaWana Richmond are running for the seat in District E, which covers southeast San Diego, including Morse and Lincoln High Schools.
“If you asked me back in January what were going to be the big school district issues come November, you would probably have standard fare of what to think of, whether it’s class size or the achievement gap,” said Evan Crawford, assistant professor of political science at USD., who said those issues still exist but now with COVID-19 shining a new light on them. “Responding to COVID and all the other challenges that come with it is exasperating whatever the underlining issues were to begin with.”
Crawford said the school board will have to figure out how to provide an education to students, making sure those most disadvantaged by the coronavirus are not going to fall behind.
The pandemic may end up benefitting the candidates with more resources, Crawford said.
“That, to me, from my perspective, will be interesting," Crawford said. "They will have to be creative.”
Crawford said candidates cannot go door-to-door, but they can buy air time or pay for social media.
“Is COVID going to exacerbate resource inequalities in our candidates the same way it does our students?" Crawford said. "That’s what I’m going to be paying attention to -- is how they campaign during this time."