• Evie Sijl

Coalition for Neighborhood Schools interviews Christy Lozano

Transparency is Ms. Lozano’s First Priority


Read the News-Press article here: https://newspress.com/coalition-for-neighborhood-schools-interviews-christy-lozano/


“It’s important that parents are able to see what is being taught to their children,” said Christy Lozano, a candidate for Santa Barbara County superintendent of schools, during an interview conducted by the Coalition for Neighborhood Schools.


Christy Lozano — who is challenging incumbent Dr. Susan Salcido for Santa Barbara County superintendent of schools and stresses she’s determined to make schools more transparent — was interviewed this week at TV Santa Barbara.


Alice Post of the Coalition for Neighborhood Schools conducted the interview. The interview was an episode of “The Santa Barbara Forum,” which is produced by Michael Nicholson.

The interview can be watched on Facebook and airs today on Channel 17, with repeats on other days. (See the “Tune In” box.)


Ms. Lozano has been a physical education teacher and coach and has taught K-12 in the Santa Barbara Unified School District for 18 years. She is also a U.S. Air Force veteran and has been deployed overseas.


“I have been working in the Santa Barbara Unified School District for 18 years, and during my tenure, I have seen a lot of things. And one of the things that I have seen that’s most disturbing is a decline in academics, a decline in behavior and a decline in mental well being of kids,” Ms. Lozano told Ms. Post. “As a teacher and as a veteran, as a protector of people, I couldn’t stand by and watch it happen any longer.


“As you know half of the kids in our county are below state achievement levels, and I have a plan and solutions to change the trajectory of our schools … I have plans that I would like to implement to turn the schools around,” Ms. Lozano said.


Transparency is Ms. Lozano’s first priority, and she addressed the importance of transparency in three primary areas: curriculum access, governance and finances. “It’s important that parents are able to see what is being taught to their children. I mean parents are in charge of their kids … so they should have access to that information at any time, and it shouldn’t be, you know, by a formal request. It should just be available for them to see. I think that’s very important, and so parents need to have access to that when they want to have access to it,” said Ms. Lozano.


She believes that curriculum should be posted on both the school and district websites for parental access.


The Santa Barbara County Education Office does not currently record videos of its meetings. Last week the topic was revisited, and the board voted 5-2 against recording the meetings.

“To me that is unacceptable. The districts have to do that, and so why wouldn’t the overseer of the districts lead by example and make that available?” said Ms. Lozano.


“Why doesn’t SBCEO publicly disclose the full list of lobbyists, consultants and vendors in a county where half of the kids can’t read and nearly two-thirds cannot do math at grade level?


Where is all this money going?” Ms. Post asked.


Ms. Lozano replied, “I have looked over the budgets, and they don’t get into the nitty gritty.”

She said SBCEO needs to be more specific in its budget and stressed the importance of transparency, which she noted is crucial to developing trust.


“There needs to be trust, and so the more transparent you can be, the more trusting people are over your decisions. And it brings accountability,” she said.


Ms. Lozano also spoke to the importance of leadership and how she plans to lead. She noted it’s important to have honest conversations, however difficult, with parents.


Ms. Post asked Ms. Lozano to rate the incumbent’s performance of the pandemic response and what she would have done for a better outcome.


“Well, if I was going to rate it, I didn’t really see anything. I didn’t see the incumbent doing anything except probably just reiterating the health department policies that they were putting on the school districts,” Ms. Lozano said. “ If I gave them a rating, it would be a 1 out of 10. I didn’t see movement toward reopening the schools, which they could have done … I think they did a terrible job of dealing with the pandemic,” said Ms. Lozano.


Gov. Newsom actually encouraged schools to reopen as long as they signed a waiver, according to Ms. Post.


“We are going to go through hard things in our lives, and if we can turn them into a teachable moment, kids really see what they are made of … I think it is a very valuable lesson that was missed during the pandemic,” said Ms. Lozano.


“Losing a whole year of school is unprecedented in the history of the United States. We needed extraordinary steps to be taken and we needed extraordinary leadership. Do you think you could provide extraordinary leadership?” asked Ms. Post.


Ms. Lozano responded, “Well, I think I could because I have done a lot of hard things. I’m a veteran, I’m a single mom raising a 15-year old by myself.”


email: kzehnder@newspress.com


LOZANO CALLS FOR OPEN DISCUSSION

Christy Lozano, who’s running against incumbent Dr. Susan Salcido for Santa Barbara County superintendent of schools, has called on Dr. Salcido to participate in a forum or debate with her.


She also said the discussion could take place in person, via Zoom or on TV.


In a statement emailed Wednesday evening to the News-Press, Ms. Lozano said the forum or debate should be hosted by an organization dedicated to “open, civil and substantive discussion.”


TUNE IN

To watch Alice Post’s entire interview with Christy Lozano, a candidate for Santa Barbara County superintendent of schools, go to www.facebook.com/727922259/videos/298783385652112.

The interview will air on Channel 17 at the following times: 2 p.m. today, 5 a.m. Sunday, 11 p.m. Monday and 11 a.m. Tuesday.

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