Voters in Rancho Santa Fe will be asked to select two out of four candidates on November 4th to be representatives on the school board. Incumbents Marti Ritto and Todd Frank are up for re-election while Violetta Sansone and Christopher Blatt are challengers. Here is a breakdown of what each candidate can offer the children and community of the Ranch.
Sansone is a nine-year homeowner in the Covenant who is educated in Economics, Tax Law, and Finance & Credit. She works as a Mortgage Banker and Tax Preparer. When asked why she’s running for the school board, she told theRSF Review:
“As a Covenant resident I have a vested interest in the school performance and it’s footprint. I hold a strong desire for elevated school standards and performance.”
Her priorities would lie in technology, math, and language so students are best prepared for a global economy. While a state-of-the-art gym would be nice, Sansone believes in bringing out the best in student learning must be the board’s focus.
Sansone understands that she may not have all the answers, but the parents and community must be a large part in finding answers. Transparency in finances and long-term solutions is paramount. Sansone stated, “This community is evolving and while certain approaches or ideas may not have made sense 10 years ago, doesn’t mean they don’t make sense today. Too often, an entrenched board fails to realize this. I will bring these fresh ideas and perspective.”
Marti Ritto (Incumbent)
Ritto is a current trustee and the past president of the RSF School Board. She has been a major proponent of the arts as an Opera singer and supporter of the Performing Arts Center and renowned music education program MUSE (Mastering Unique Self Expression).
She says that the board needs to focus on two issues; financial stability and maintaining a high standard in reading and writing. Ritto believes conservative finances will help make sure quality of education does not suffer.
As a former employee of Yahoo!, she has also says technology is an integral part of education. While on the board, the RSF School District had a technology rollout by providing mobile devices to students and created a renowned robotics program.
Ritto says the board has been committed to transparency by making themselves more available to parents and scheduling meetings to more convenient times.
Ritto has lived in the RSF School District for 13 years and has two children currently attending R. Roger Rowe School.
Blatt has been living within the RSF School District for the past three years, and has three children who are attending or will attend R. Roger Rowe School. He explains of the main issue the board faces:
“I am sure that all parties want the same thing, and that is the best education and training for the children at the school. The conflicts often arise when the paths to achieve that goal are not viewed the same by everyone.”
When it comes to overcoming differences in ideas, Blatt says “Gathering their inputs and understanding the reasons why these ideas are favored or not is critical to moving the idea forward with the team or modifying it to better suit the situation. There may need to be additional meetings with the public to address specific issues should there be a more divided topic that is being pursued.”
Blatt has a Bahelor’s and Master’s Degree in Chemical and Nuclear Engineering. He works as the Director of Sales for High Technology Electronics and was previously an officer in the US Navy. He spends time as a robotics coach and believes his tech and engineering background will conducive to view and solve problems in a variety of ways.
Todd Frank (Incumbent)
Frank is currently serving as a trustee of the RSF School Board and believes he can continue to foster the world-class level of education. He wants to further improve the curriculum and technology of the school district and create a succession plan.
Students of R. Roger Rowe School exceed standards and are anticipated to continue their success despite the implementation of Common Core. To further exceed standards, Frank says the board should continue to support and fund opportunities in sports, music, art, drama, robotics, and science.
A succession plan would help secure funds for the future outside of current sources, and Frank says it must be done transparently with due diligence.
Frank earned a Masters of Business Administration from Duke University. He served on several other boards such as the RSF Rotary Club and RSF Education Foundation. He is also a financial advisor and business owner with three children, two of which are attending R. Roger Rowe School.
The school board had recently sent out a survey to measure support for a possible school gym renovation bond. The idea of a $19.2 million two-court facility with locker rooms and space for dance and wrestling programs only received 29.7 percent support. A larger $23.5 million three-court facility with previously mentioned amenities received 16.9 percent support.
The Board was also one of several entities to bid for the purchase of the Garden Club. Trustee Todd Frank said it was important for the board to find out how the school community feels about the purchases. Superintendent Delaney said “Because we have been financially conservative, we do have the money in the bank, we’re in a good position to make a good decision.”