I’ve spent 30 of my birthdays here in Thousand Oaks. After 15 years and 15 moves due to my father’s military service, I can safely say that Conejo Valley is my home. Just last night I was talking with friends about places like the Melody Theater, or taking a two lane road to the distant land of Simi Valley, and when Westlake Blvd. and Avenida de Los Arboles were connected only by a series of hiking and bicycle trails. Those are but memories now, and we now find ourselves in a bustling and diverse city.
On my 45th birthday, I am a parent of young children and work in residential real estate. My wife is a teacher at the adult school here in the Conejo Valley. Because of this unique set of circumstances, I find myself paying closer attention to the CVUSD than most of my friends and neighbors. Over the last few years, the things I see are disconcerting.
Thirty years ago, my parents selected Thousand Oaks as home because of the low crime rate and excellent schools. Now, I meet folks in nearby communities who have said they specifically chose to NOT move to Thousand Oaks because of the CVUSD school board. From a friend who’s a high school counselor: “That’s one of the reasons we didn’t bother looking at places in Conejo. The board is too powerful and corrupt in my opinion. They are making horrible decisions based on their personal beliefs.” Another person who grew up in Westlake recently moved back to the area, but chose Las Virgines due to the troublesome activity of the CVUSD school board.
My young daughters will spend their next several birthdays here. One of my daughters is entering kindergarten in CVUSD this fall, the other is attending a CVUSD preschool. I’ve been vocal about my discontent with this entire school board, from the disastrous Timber School sale, which cost the taxpayers of Thousand Oaks million of dollars, to the more recent addition of uncredentialed community members to the curriculum approval process. If you’re unfamiliar with this issue, their newly approved process of selecting educational materials removes selection from professionals and puts it in the hands of friends, or possibly donors, that support the board members’ personal agendas. This misleading policy was advertised by the Board as a way of facilitating parental control over their individual child’s education, however, parents have always had the final say in their children's’ education. The Board doesn’t actually have the ability to grant that, or remove it, but they have successfully legislated a committee of non-professionals that will be deciding what books our children see in the classroom.
I intend to spend many more birthdays raising my daughters in this community, and this is why I am running for the school board. Our children, school district employees, and the community as a whole are not being served by the Board. This is my home, and it has been so for three decades. I’ve watched it evolve, and I’ve watched it maintain its hometown charm along the way. I’m tired of watching this current board degrade the quality of education provided by this school district. This, in part, is why I’m running for CVUSD School Board, and why I’m asking for your support.