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Sulphur Springs candidates talk budget, consolidation

Posted: October 28, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 28, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Three of the four candidates jockeying for school board seats in the Sulphur Springs School District sat down last weekend for a forum on topics ranging from the district’s budget to whether the citizens of the Santa Clarita Valley might be better served by one elementary school district.

Board incumbents Kerry Clegg and Lori MacDonald attended the Oct. 20 forum along with challenger Ken Chase.

Clegg was first elected to the board in 1989 and said during his time on the board he has amassed a great deal of experience.

MacDonald, who was appointed to the board in 2012, has worked as an educator in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 15 years and said she is the only current board member or candidate who currently has children in the Sulphur Springs district.

Chase, who is seeking his first term on the board, said he would provide a different perspective to the board if elected and said his background as an accountant would be an asset to the district.

If elected to the board, Chase said he would look to build up a larger rainy day fund of reserves so the district would have more to tap into in case of state budget cuts.

“I think where the district could have done better is really planning, being more proactive versus reactive with the state budget,” he said.

Clegg said the district did have reserves available to help fund the district during the economic downturn but noted that funding from the state was cut by about 22 percent during that period.

“Nobody is going to survive a 22 percent cut to their total finance without having some issues with personnel and layoffs,” he said, adding that he thinks Sulphur Springs was proactive enough to avoid larger impacts.

Another topic of discussion was whether the Santa Clarita Valley might be served better by one unified elementary school district.

But each of the candidates said they like the current makeup of the district, with MacDonald saying she much prefers the environment at Sulphur Springs to much larger ones, such as the Los Angeles Unified School District.

“In Los Angeles Unified you don’t know your neighbors, you don’t know the people in your school, they’re coming from all over the place,” she said. “It’s completely different out here and that’s what I appreciate.”

A fourth candidate, incumbent Michael Hogan, was not able to take part in the candidate forum, which was put on by The Signal, College of the Canyons Cougar News, KHTS AM-1220 and SCVTV.

There are three seats up for grabs on the Sulphur Springs district board this year. The election will be held Nov. 5.
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