Community to Elect Four New School Board Members

In early November of 2022, voters in Palos Verdes had the chance to elect new PVPUSD school board members. There were three open seats for a four-year term and one for a two-year term. 

Results have not been released yet, but the winners are supposed to be announced within the month. 

“This year’s election is very important,” four-year seat candidate Jennifer Handjian said. “Four seats are open on the school board and that brings with it the possibility of a lot of positive change. Our community is best when all the stakeholders are engaged and informed, so I hope everyone takes the time to go to the candidates’ websites and learn about them.”

A few topics are prevalent among the candidates’ main goals, a major one being academic concerns. 

“[Academic performance] is a somewhat controversial topic among parents and candidates because there is conflicting information about how well our students are doing,” four-year seat candidate Jeremy Vanderhal said. “College acceptance rates and AP scores are doing very well, but performance on standardized testing seems to indicate a learning gap.”

The improvements of school campuses are also a main focus for many candidates this year. 

“I want to implement responsible fiscal management so that we can actually fix the facilities that are in an embarrassing and unsafe state of disrepair,” four-year seat candidate Julie Hamill said. 

A large part of this problem seems to be the financial state of the school district. Other schools in the South Bay are finding new ways to deal with this problem. 

“…I would like to look for private sponsors like El Segundo Unified does,” Handjian said. “Chevron is a big sponsor of El Segundo Unified School District, giving millions of dollars each year so they can continuously improve their campuses. We need to identify and go after companies who want to invest in their local communities and the South Bay.” 

Lastly, most of the candidates are concerned about the mental well-being of students, amplified largely because of the pandemic. 

“If I am elected I will focus on enhancing academic and mental health programs,” another candidate, Linda Kurt, said. 

Dr. Sara Deen, also running for one of the four-year seats, has similar views. 

“My goal is for every district student to have their learning, social and emotional needs met on safe and friendly campuses,” she said, “so that every kid can discover their inner spark, cultivate their own unique gifts and reach for their dreams.”

It’s important for PVPUSD students to remain aware of the 2022 school board elections: it can and will affect academic and social experiences in schools. 

“What I’d like PVHS students to know about this year’s elections is that they absolutely matter,” Vanderhal said. 

“Many people are focused on the state and federal elections, but often it is the local elections that affect our lives the most.”