Name: Maria Leon-Vazquez
Occupation: College administrator, Santa Monica College
Neighborhood in which you live: Santa Monica
Marital status/kids: Married/two children
If you have children, do they attend local public schools? They attended SMMUSD schools.
Education: Santa Monica College, A.A. in social studies; U.C. San Diego, B.A., history/Chicano studies; U.C. Hastings College of Law, J.D.
Why are you running for the school board and what do you want to accomplish if elected?
Bridging the gap: Putting into play my philosophy that all children irrespective of socio-economic, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, etc. will have the same opportunities at SMMUSD and choices as a senior in high school.
Budget/districtwide fundraising: Working collaboratively with all stakeholders in our district and the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation in order to stabilize our budget locally. Strongly move forward districtwide fundraising and expanding our quest for out-of-district support. Creating a culture of inclusion and trust among all our families in the district, especially in our two cities.
Prop. 30, Prop. 38 or neither?
I support both. At this point in the campaign, we can’t use negativity in opposing either because voters will not vote for either.
Do you support separating Malibu and Santa Monica into separate districts?
I do not support the separation of the school district. I have stated this publicly in the couple of discussions the board has had. I believe strongly that SMMUSD, even before my time on the board, has taken care of all its students and there has never been a point where any of the two cities can say that the students have been short-changed. Malibu parents have never given the district concrete facts to support the break-up.
What are your thoughts on the decision to move to districtwide fundraising?
I supported districtwide fundraising from the beginning. I will continue to support the issue and use my influence to make sure that as a district we move forward as planned and support the Education Foundation as the entity that will carry out the work for the district. I do believe that as a district we will be able to raise more funds than as individual schools.
If elected, would you vote to close smaller schools and save money?
No. I would look at ramping up districtwide fundraising and other sources of securing finances and preserve our neighborhood schools.