Board Candidates Discuss And Debate
Hart School Board candidates speak on past, present and future issues
With the William S. Hart School Board elections coming up this November, all three candidates, Gloria Mercado-Fortine, Joe Messina, and Steve Sturgeon came to city hall to answer both press and audience questions. And while the questions varied from Castaic High to vocational training, on the five member board, only two seats are currently open. Both Mercado-Fortine and Sturgeon have previously served on the board, while Messina is a newcomer.
Mercado-Fortine, a lifetime resident in the SCV, has been teacher, principal, and says her experience makes her a valuable asset. “I have a background in education, and I really think that would help the board.”
Returner Steve Sturgeon, who has a long list of achievements here in Santa Clarita, also prides himself in having active involvement in the community.
Joe Messina says he and his family “live, work and play in the Santa Clarita Valley”, and is eager to make a change. “I want to make a difference, I want to make a change.”
When asked what would be the biggest issues facing the Board in the next four years, all three agreed that Castaic High was a big priority. “Building Castaic High is a big priority. The residents of Castaic have paid taxes, and contributed to other schools, and its time that they get their very own high school,” says Mercado-Fortine. While Messina agreed, he also said that funding for the school was also an issue. “The biggest problem we will face is money.”
Gloria Mercado-Fortine said that if she had to give the school board’s performance a grade, it would be like a typical report card. “We have areas we need to work on, such as construction and so forth, but I’m proud to be on the board, and we have our good areas.”
But, Messina would give the board a little different grade. “I would give academics an ‘A’, but I would give management of the Measure V Funds an ‘F’, and the board’s accountability an ‘F’,” says Messina.
But, all candidates did agree that SCV schools are good ones. “People move here because of our schools,” says Steve Sturgeon.