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Candidate studies the SCV

Hopeful for local state Senate seat tours area schools

Posted: July 17, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 17, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Editor’s note: One of a series on candidates in this November’s election.

State Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica, was in the Santa Clarita Valley on Monday researching the community in which she’s running as an incumbent — although she’s never represented it before.

Gearing up for the fall sprint toward the general election in November, the former teacher visited with local educators, including Newhall School District Superintendent Marc Winger, she said.

“I want to get a sense of the community, so if elected — hit the ground running,” Pavley said in a Monday interview in West Ranch.

In final election numbers for the June primary released by the California Secretary of State on Friday, Pavley trailed Republican newcomer Todd Zink by 2,829 votes.

Final percentages showed Zink ending up with 51.1 percent of the primary and Pavley with 48.9 percent in the race for the 27th Senate District.

Pavley’s old 23rd Senate District shifted to the north and changed numbers in the redistricting process that followed the 2010 Census, and it now takes in part of the Santa Clarita Valley. Her district previously ran from Santa Monica and took in parts of western Los Angeles, the southern San Fernando Valley and the cities of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Malibu, Oxnard and Port Hueneme.

She said Monday that she wants to hear what the people of the Santa Clarita Valley want and need.

What she’s hearing from educators, she said, is mounting needs addressed with dwindling budgets.

“I learned that school districts have a lot in common. They have shared concerns throughout this district about not only budget pressures but other shared concerns,” she said, adding the Newhall district is doing amazingly well.

What she learned specifically from Winger is the urgency in being able to serve special-needs students.

“We talked about the increasing amounts of special-needs students,” she said. “They (Newhall) seem to have attracted and retained quality teachers, and that’s good.

“School districts have challenges, but what’s unique about this district Newhall — and (William S.) Hart (Union High School District), Saugus (School District) — is that the community is very engaged in their public schools.”

It’s important, she said, to listen to the specific needs of each district.

“You can’t view the world through LAUSD eyes,” Pavley said, referring to the Los Angeles Unified School District.

At College of the Canyons, the senator learned about a market-driven need for trained and educated craftsman.

Pavley said she was enlightened by a retired Boeing craftsman who teaches welding at the college.

“We need to get back to basics,” she said, “and not to approach education as one size fits all.”



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