The spending in the San Diego Unified school board race is small compared to the City Council races — but it is an early sign of who is backing the candidates’ campaigns and where they’re putting their money. Here are the numbers, according to recently submitted campaign filings covering the last year:

  • The biggest fundraiser was Kevin Beiser, a middle school teacher who is vying to replace Katherine Nakamura to represent the northeastern areas of San Diego Unified. In 2009, he raised $15,794 and spent $869 to set up a website, get professional photos and process donations.

Beiser, a Democrat, recently scooped up an endorsement from the San Diego Democratic Club. His donors included Steven Hadley, who serves as chief of staff for Donna Frye, former City Council candidate Stephen Whitburn and Rev. Houston Burnside of the Metropolitan Community Church.



  • The other competitor to take on Nakamura is Stephen Rosen, a business owner who raised $4,418 and took out a $90,000 loan. He’s spent more than Beiser — $5,481 including nearly $900 in unpaid bills — but his list of donors is noticeably shorter and includes a number of people who live outside of San Diego. Rosen also donated $1,000 to himself.

His biggest expense was $4,000 for a political consulting firm, Schuman Hoy & Associates. Rosen is a conservative Democrat who got interested in running through being a parent at Jerabek Elementary.

CONTRIBUTIONS: $94,418 (including the $90,000 loan)


  • Nakamura herself hadn’t started fundraising or spending on her campaign last year. That isn’t unusual for incumbent school board members, who are typically difficult to unseat. Nakamura, a Democrat who has a law degree and previously worked in the administration at the University of San Diego, has been elected twice to the school board and helped with the campaign to pass a $2.1 billion school construction bond nearly two years ago.



  • The only contender trying to unseat John de Beck, who was first elected to the school board two decades ago to represent the coastal regions of San Diego Unified, is Patrick MacFarland, a San Diego State student who is finishing up a degree in political science. MacFarland has raised $1,115 and got $600 worth of translation and web editing services from a donor. His donors include a San Diego State professor, Coral MacFarland-Thuet, and several teachers. He’s a Democrat too.

CONTRIBUTIONS: $1,715 including $600 in donated services


  • De Beck himself had started fundraising last year. Unlike Nakamura, his forms note that he already has some money in the bank — nearly $5,000. His donors include former school board member Frances O’Neill Zimmerman and former City Council candidate Phil Thalheimer. And in case you haven’t noticed a pattern, yes, de Beck is also a Democrat.





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