I thought Pam Mirabella would finally retire after 28 years as a Contra Costa County Board of Education Trustee for Area 1 (including most or all of the West Contra Costa USD over the years). Then last year I started getting campaign e-mails from her. I was puzzled that she was making such an effort thinking that she could probably die in office if she wanted with little effort. This was seemingly confirmed as she pulled and filed papers to run on the first day of the filing period then stood alone for two weeks as the only candidate. Yesterday, when I checked again, everything changed. Three competitors suddenly appeared to at least pull papers. So, let’s look at this.
The Trustee Area
Area 1 consists of most of WCCUSD. It does not include Hercules or some parts of Pinole and Richmond although this territory is within the school district. This unincluded part of WCCUSD is in Area 2 (Deane). My crudely drawn red line gives an idea of the extension of WCCUSD into Trustee Area 2. (Thanks to the helpful Communciations Office at the County Office of Education I found a better map on the site for the Community College District, which uses the same trustee areas.)
What the County Board of Education Does
Here is the list from the county office of education website. The two most controversial functions are:
- The organization of individual school districts: boundary changes, changes in election method
- Hearing appeals of charter school rejections from local school boards (not mentioned in the list oddly enough)
Who’s Running against Mirabella
Of the three challengers, I don’t know anything about Tayla Huntley. (She doesn’t seem to Google very well.) Fatima Alleyne is a parent who volunteers for a lot of committees, like the the Community Budget Advisory Committee. She has defended charter schools before. Elaine Merriweather is a parent, SF teachers union official, and former WCCUSD school board member who was voted out. She is presumably generally antagonistic to charter schools. We’ll see more where candidates stand as the race develops.