Board members of the San Diego teachers union have recommended endorsing a Republican candidate to unseat long-term incumbent John de Beck, whose relationship with the union has soured over time.
While teachers from across the school district have not yet voted on who to endorse in the June primary election, the union’s board of directors is recommending they choose Scott Barnett, a conservative political consultant, for de Beck’s spot, according to an e-mail the union sent to candidates that was obtained by voiceofsandiego.org. Candidates were vetted at a union forum on Monday and teachers will vote on whom to endorse Tuesday.
De Beck, a former teacher who was first elected to the school board almost three decades ago, had long enjoyed the support of the union, especially as a critic of former Superintendent Alan Bersin. But de Beck has been increasingly critical of the teachers union in recent years, most recently arguing that its plan for furlough days meant sacrificing the least senior teachers.
Union directors also recommended that teachers not endorse anyone for the other school board primary, in which incumbent Katherine Nakamura is defending her seat against middle school math teacher Kevin Beiser and business owner Stephen Rosen. That isn’t a big surprise for Nakamura, who is often at odds with the union. But it is for Beiser, who’d garnered support from Democratic groups on labor issues.
Zombro cautioned that no official endorsement had been made and that it wasn’t unusual for the teacher representatives to disagree with the board. “This is an act of democracy,” she said, and the recommendation “doesn’t speak for the organization.”
— EMILY ALPERT