Culver City Edition

Three file for two open Culver City school board seats

CULVER CITY — Residents of the Culver City Unified School District will fill two vacant seats by choosing from among three candidates Nov. 3, according to information from the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters Office in Norwalk.

Only two candidates — Anne Burke, a parent education counselor; and Scott McVarish, a parent-teacher advocate — filed by the regular deadline Aug. 7, but the third candidate, Kelly Kent, a neuroscience professor, filed Aug. 10 during the extended period, the registrar’s office said.

The extension, to Aug. 12, was because the two school board incumbents, Nancy Goldberg and Laura Chardiet, did not seek re-election.

Burke and McVarish, who are running as a team, kicked off their campaign Aug. 9. They were joined by about 60 supporters at an event hosted by Mike Cohen.

Chardiet introduced the candidates and City Councilman Jim Clarke also gave a speech in support of the Burke and McVarish campaign.

Burke said she relates to many of the families in Culver City who have never had anyone attend college and the challenges they face navigating this system.

“I’m a first-generation college student in my family and I understand the challenges quite personally,” she said. “We have a lot of these potential first-generation college students in Culver City. We have to figure out how we help them meet this challenge.”

She also focused on the students who may not choose college directly out of high school.

“We need to be creative on how can we prep them to have a meaningful and successful and gainfully employed lives after they leave our school system,” she said.

McVarish questioned whether schools are changing fast enough to cope with the rapid changes in society and the economy. He also proposed the establishment of multiple career path academies at the secondary school level to help meet those changes.

He said he wanted to build on the success of the performing arts academy by creating a science, technology, engineering and mathematics academy, an industrial arts or trades academy, as well as a leadership academy.

McVarish helped found the United Parents of Culver City at a time when he said parents were not being listened to by the district. Now he said they are being listened to he promised that he and Burke would work well with the current district administrative team, with everyone putting students first and working toward the goal of great schools.

Burke and McVarish say they will begin their field campaign Sept. 13 with an event in Lindbergh Park followed by precinct walking and sign distribution.

Kent also said she is waiting until September to fully launch her campaign.

She is the mother of two, including a preschooler and a student at Linwood Howe Elementary, where she volunteers. She said she helped create a before-school Spanish language program that was administered and taught by volunteers. She said the programs was so successful that the school site council, booster club and PTA decided to help fund the curriculum as well as provide teacher stipends and training to expand the program.

She holds a doctorate in neuroscience from USC and serves on the Culver City Parks and Recreation Commission.

Goldberg and Chardiet both stepped down from the board after one term.