Political consultant Scott Barnett is strongly considering whether to run to unseat veteran school board member John de Beck, who has served on the board for nearly two decades. If he goes for it, Barnett would be the second challenger to take on de Beck this fall, joining San Diego State University student Patrick MacFarland.
Barnett, who is a registered Republican and the former director of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, runs TaxpayersAdvocate.org and previously consulted the campaign to pass a school renovation bond for San Diego Unified. He sat on the oversight committee for the previous school bond and last served in public office in the 1980s, when he was elected to the Del Mar City Council.
Barnett said his goal is reforming the financial or management side of the school district to save money that could be put back into classrooms. He said he believes that as a parent with kids now in the schools, he’s closer to the schools than de Beck. He also argues that he would be a more positive force than de Beck, a frequent dissident who often throws out unusual ideas such as splitting off the coastal areas into a separate school district. Barnett called that “a bumper-sticker solution to a complex problem.”
“There needs to be a productive, collaborative working relationship on the board to get things done — not simply shoot down or oppose things, which is very easy to do,” Barnett said.
De Beck is one of two school board members who are up for re-election this fall; the other is school board member Katherine Nakamura. Unseating an incumbent school board member is an uphill battle, but John Lee Evans did exactly that last year, taking a seat from Mitz Lee.
— EMILY ALPERT