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Laura Capps

Laura Capps

Santa Barbara Unified School District Board

Twitter: @laurabcapps
Why are you running for office?: The most important role of a school board member is to be a strong voice for the community.

That means pushing hard for accountability, transparency and fiscal responsibility. And that’s exactly what I’ve done.

As a staunch advocate for equity, I’ve pushed to close the achievement gap, give students more academic opportunities and more mental health support.

I’ve been the champion of energy sustainability - and soon our schools will be 94% solar-powered, saving taxpayer dollars.

And as a supporter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, I’ve fought to make our schools safer.

Our county has the 2nd highest rate of child poverty in the entire state. I’ve worked to support low-income students, especially making sure they have the nutritious food they need to thrive.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement has simultaneously exposed existing inequities in our educational system. Now we must redouble our efforts to make sure the needs of all students, especially those who are marginalized, are proactively met.

Now that we are facing the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic, that community voice in our schools is more important than ever. And experience matters.

That’s why I am running again for the Santa Barbara School Board.
What makes you qualified for the job?: I have devoted my career to public service and am committed to making our community, and our country, the best it can be for everyone. I am President of the School Board and a graduate of our local public schools: Roosevelt, SBJHS and SBHS. For the past 25 years, my work has been about forging a more environmentally sustainable future, combating poverty, fighting for immigration reform, and supporting the rights of all people. After growing up in Santa Barbara and learning the importance of service from her parents, I began her career in government and public service in the Clinton White House, working first as an aide to White House Senior Advisor George Stephanopoulos and then as a speechwriter for President Clinton. Next, I was Senator Ted Kennedy’s Communications Director in the U.S. Senate, serving as his primary spokesperson and developing strategic communications plans on a wide range of issues. I continued as a senior aide on John Kerry’s presidential campaign, starting first as his Iowa Communications Director and then directing communications for the seven battleground states in the west during the general election. 
What are your two main priorities if you win?: 1. Helping the most marginalized students during distance learning, including supporting our food service program and

2. returning kids back to class safely for teachers, staff and families.
How will you interact with other governments?: I am a responsive leader in this community and work well with the City Council, County, Goleta School Board, Congressman Carbajal, and many other non-profits. It is about collaboration, listening and learning from one another.
What are your plans to help overcome COVID-19?: Every single day, I hear about how kids, families, and teachers are struggling with distance learning. As a parent of a student in our Santa Barbara schools, I get it. And I listen to those who have challenges far greater than the ones I'm experiencing. That's why I adamantly believe that kids belong in the classroom -- when we can do so while keeping our students, teachers, and staff safe.

I'm excited to share that tomorrow, small cohorts of students with the most acute needs will be returning to class in person. Many athletics have already started conditioning practices. If our infection rates continue to drop, we'll move into a hybrid plan then gradually to full in-person learning before the end of 2020 or in January. Of course, any family wishing to continue distance learning can do so.

I'm proud that our school district -- the teachers, custodians, staff, Superintendent and her team, and the board -- is working hard to make all this happen. We're testing hundreds of staff, putting PPE in place, and planning for all possible scenarios. We are putting up the tents I've been championing for creative learning spaces.
Which two issues are most important to you?: 1.Safe and high quality education during a pandemic

2. Equitable academic opportunity for all students

Extended Interview with Laura Capps

Santa Barbara Unified School District Candidate Forum

Article Topic Follows: News

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