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Personalities Are Big Difference In School Board Race

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Aired 10/26/10

A San Diego tax advocate could unseat a 20-year veteran of the San Diego City school board next month. The biggest difference between the two candidates is their personalities.

John de Beck has served on the San Diego Unified School Board for 20 years.

Above: John de Beck has served on the San Diego Unified School Board for 20 years.

San Diego Unified school board trustee Scott Barnett.

Above: San Diego Unified school board trustee Scott Barnett.

— A San Diego tax advocate could unseat a 20-year veteran of the San Diego City school board next month. The biggest difference between the two candidates is their personalities.

Incumbent John deBeck is known for his gruff, no nonsense personality. But some say that personality often gets in the way of school board business.

John deBeck has been criticized for wasting school board time by proposing reform ideas that hardly get any traction. For example, he proposed an across the board salary cut to save the district money. He admits he has a lot of big thoughts, but at least he's coming up with some solutions.

“Yes, I have ideas," said deBeck. "If they're wild, that depends on who is looking at them. I would like to see other ideas, but don't see them,” deBeck said.

deBeck is no longer backed by the teachers union because he's supported layoffs in the past.

He and his opponent, budget analyst Scott Barnett, agree on several issues. They say the school board needs to take a closer look at employee compensation to find savings. They also agree that each school in San Diego should have more control over their own reforms.

Barnett is the former head of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. He says it's time for a fresh face with fresh ideas on handling the district’s money problems.

“(The school board) plugs a couple of holes, but the structural problem that we are going to sink has not been resolved,” Barnett said.

Barnett wants to overhaul the way the district analyzes and spends taxpayer money.

The San Diego teachers union recently pulled their support from Barnett because he doesn't back a parcel tax on the November ballot. That tax could bring extra taxpayer dollars into the school district.

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