School board president Luis Acle has a likely opponent for his seat next November: Labor organizer Richard Barrera.

Barrera, an East County native, has been a community and labor organizer in San Diego for 15 years, and currently works as the San Diego regional organizer for United Healthcare Workers. His resume includes a bachelor’s degree in history from UCSD, a master’s in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and two sons attending San Diego public schools. Barrera also ran unsuccessfully for county supervisor last year, losing to Supervisor Ron Roberts.

He’s “strongly considering” a run for school board, angling for a seat in Acle’s Sub-District D, which covers the south-central end of the district. Acle, known for his hands-off approach to the job, has not yet indicated publicly whether or not he will run.

“My biggest focus is on creating better outcomes for students who come through the school system,” Barrera said. “The dropout rate is a crisis. And we’ve also got to look at outcomes in terms of college placement rates, and career paths that give students a real opportunity to enter a trade that gets them to family-sustaining wages and benefits.”

His approach? Grassroots, he said.

Barrera joins a growing pool of early school board candidates, including Scott Barnett and John Lee Evans, who are running for Mitz Lee’s seat in the northern Sub-District A. Lee, in turn, is running for City Council.


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