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Parents Show Support For San Diego Schools Superintendent

San Diego Unified parents representing neighborhood school clusters, districtwide advisory committees and the charter school that will be housed in the new downtown library said they want to partner with San Diego Unified's incoming superintendent, Cindy Marten, ahead of Tuesday evening's Board of Education meeting.

Aired 3/6/13 on KPBS News.

San Diego Unified parents are joining San Diego Unified's incoming superintendent, Cindy Marten, to announce a new partnership.

The show of support for Marten, currently principal at Central Elementary in City Heights, took place as the Board of Education convened for a closed session meeting where they formalized Marten's appointment to replace Bill Kowba, the district's current superintendent.

Amy Redding chairs the District Advisory Committee for Title 1, which are federal funds to support low-income students. She said they look forward to working with Marten, who has a reputation for cultivating parent engagement.

“We want to be part of your team," she said. "We want to be some of the people you turn to for advice. We want to offer you the parent perspective on the issues that affect our children.”

Kowba announced his plans to retire at the end of the school year during his annual evaluation at the board's last closed session meeting last week. The board voted unanimously to select Marten as his replacement that same day and made their selection public at a press conference the following evening. That process came under fire once the board’s meeting began.

David Page is a parent liaison with the nonprofit UpforED. He says the group’s survey of district parents shows clear consensus.

“No one has a negative thing to say about Cindy Marten, we’re all very excited about the things that may come from this and we’re all proud of her record as an elementary school principal," he said. "But – and here comes the but – no one is happy about this process.”

Marten has been highly visible in the last several years. Two years ago, she was a vocal opponent of the district's plan to use layoffs to close a $120 million deficit. Those pink slips were rescinded and when the district issued pink slips again in 2012, Marten urged the teachers' union to negotiate with the district. During the November election, Marten also appeared in campaign ads for San Diego Unified's Proposition Z -- a $2.8 billion construction bond.

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