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November 6, 2018 — California General Election

San Pasqual Union Elementary School DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Dara P. Czerwonka
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Dara P. Czerwonka

Trustee, Palomar Health District Board of Directors
569 votes (35.9%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Preserve SPU as a local independent school
  • Maintain its focus on rigorous academic preparation, combined with enrichment experiences that help all our children thrive
  • Work with the teachers, administrators and parents to maintain a strong partnership for a shared vision of high quality education for all



Profession:Trustee Palomar Health District Board of Directors
Trustee, Palomar Health District — Elected position (2014–2018)
Chair of the Board of Directors, Palomar Health District Board of Directors — Elected position (2015–2018)
Executive Director, Girls Inc. of San Diego County (2013–2015)
CEO / Owner, For the Cause Consulting (2011–2013)
Executive Director, Operation Jump Start (2004–2011)


State University of New York at Stony Brook Masters of Social Work, Policy, Administration & Research (1994)
Providence College Bachelor of Arts, Sociology (1991)

Community Activities

School Site Council Member - (Chair), San Pasqual Union School (2013–current)
Member, Escondido Charitable Foundation (2014–current)
Volunteer, San Diego Humane Society (2014–current)
Member, Escondido Rotary Club (2013–2016)

Questions & Answers

Questions from The League of Women Voters North County San Diego (4)

What are the pressing problems of this school district, in your opinion, and what experience do you bring to the Board that will help address these problems?
Answer from Dara P. Czerwonka:

The most pressing problems facing school districts like SPU is the lack of adequate financial support from the state and the lack of rigorous evidence-based curriculum to utilize. 

I have a significant amount of experience, as a previously elected board member of a special healthcare district, in working with government funders and regulators to find “win-win” solutions to financial challenges. As a non-profit executive I also have substantial affinity for alternative funding strategies


What is your view of charter schools?
Answer from Dara P. Czerwonka:
I believe in the theoretical value of charter schools, however, I have no direct experience with charter school implementations that adequately address the challenges associated with the model. Charter schools have been criticized for either placing too great a burden on the families of selected children to augment or direct the education of the child, or they have been accused of not providing a superior education (as demonstrated through objective data) to justify taking public dollars out of the institutions responsible to educating the rest of the local children. Before supporting the charter school model, I would like to see better evidence that they truly provide a necessary educational experience and achievement beyond that which is delivered by the traditional public school district.
Should the district curb its school choice initiatives (for students who are not in charter schools), so that more students stay in their neighborhood schools? Why or why not?
Answer from Dara P. Czerwonka:
I encourage school districts to continue to develop magnet programs that offer specialized learning opportunities within the public school district, but sometimes outside of the local neighborhood school. It is important that districts continue to be creative in meeting the learning needs of all of the district resident children. As a matter of principle, I believe public money should remain in the public schools.
Are there school discipline strategies or behavioral support programs that you find appealing alternatives to exclusionary or punitive discipline? If so, which ones, and why?
Answer from Dara P. Czerwonka:

I believe in restorative justice strategies specifically and behavioral support programs generally.

All children should be assisted to reach their full academic potential. It is the district’s responsibility to provide students with the specific interventions and supports that they need to learn. 

It is also the district’s responsibility to ensure a safe campus and learning environment for all children. Whenever possible, discipline should be provided on campus with extremes, like off-campus suspension, being utilized only when other childrens’ safety or the safety of the offending child are in jeopardy.

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