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Meet the San Dieguito Union High School District candidates for Area 1

The exterior of the San Dieguito Union High School District office in Encinitas.
The exterior of the San Dieguito Union High School District office in Encinitas.

(Karen Billing)

Two candidates are running in the November election to fill the San Dieguito Union High School District’s Area 1 seat, which will be vacated by Mo Muir. In alphabetical order, meet candidates David Carattini and Rimga Viskanta, in their own words:

Dave Carattini
(Courtesy of Dave Carattini)

Dave Carattini
My name is Dave Carattini and I’m a nonpartisan candidate. I am a San Diego native, business owner, dad, coach and community volunteer. I come from a family of eight children where my father was an educator for 35 years. I am the proud father of five amazing kids and one grandchild. All my children have attended Park Dale Lane Elementary School, Mission Estancia Elementary School, Oak Crest Middle School, and La Costa Canyon High School.

I worked for Price Club/ Costco for 36 years. Most of my career was as a general manager prior to retiring in 2016. I worked with Union and Non-Union locations during my entire career, where I formed incredible working relationships. Since retiring in 2016, I have moved on to be a small business owner.

I will bring unity and cohesiveness for the purpose of enhancing the educational experience for our students, educators, and families. I look forward to exceeding your expectations and earning your trust.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the district?
The prolonged school closures created social and emotional issues and learning loss that we are just beginning to understand. We need to work together as a board to turn this around. In the last board meeting we learned that 85% of SDUHSD students go to college. With admissions getting more difficult each year, we must have more resources to help our students. We need to improve safety, cleanliness of campuses, and the overall education experience. Our Educators are extremely important. There needs to be a strong focus to show respect and admiration for them. We need to find creative ways to bring in additional funds to support every important program within SDUHSD.

What do you think about how the board currently functions and what can you bring to this board?
The current board vacancy resulting in a split board has caused a virtual stalemate that has been detrimental to the district. Public meetings are the only opportunity for trustees to discuss important policy issues, and we must ensure that quality time is spent doing just that. There is no place for politics in this position. We need to bring unity and cohesiveness for the purpose of enhancing the educational experience for our students, educators, and families.

Rimga Viskanta
(Courtesy of Rimga Viskanta)

Rimga Viskanta
In 2016, I was elected to the Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) Board and served until 2020, my last year as Board President when the pandemic surged. I became involved in our schools as a parent when my children attended Ocean Knoll beginning as a classroom volunteer and eventually serving as PTA President. My youngest is a seventh grader and my older two children attended Oak Crest and graduated from San Dieguito Academy in 2021 and 2022. At the district level, I served on the EUSD District Prop P Oversight Committee and on the SDUHSD Prop AA Oversight Committee.

I have a Master’s degree in Public Administration from USC, with an emphasis in public sector accounting and financial management and an undergraduate degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia. I am a senior management analyst for the City of Solana Beach where my focus is environmental sustainability and some finance department support.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the district?
The district needs stable leadership at the board and superintendent level. The pandemic disrupted systems globally and at the same time the district has had three different Superintendents and a turnover and resignation of Trustees. Site Administrators, staff, teachers and students have eagerly returned to familiar classroom and campus environments and they need our support from the community at large, from the District office and especially from the school board leadership which has recently brought controversy and chaos to the district instead of civility, vision or management. With a solid governance team the District can effectively address its other issues including fiscal management, mental health, and ensuring welcoming school environments that respect a student’s individuality and protect them from harmful acts of bullying–physical, verbal, or online. This work begins in the boardroom where the restoration of decorum and respect can foster a culture of inclusion, decency, and belonging in our schools.

What do you think about how the board currently functions and what can you bring to this board?
I observe that the current board leadership inconsistently applies governance laws during meetings and engages in questionable political practices outside the boardroom on unregulated social media outlets. Both practices are highly problematic and have directly contributed to out-of-control meetings full of passionately angry constituents and take away focus from discussions about matters more important to the students in our district. Meetings have run long into the night and begin at hours when important stakeholders are at work and cannot attend. I bring public sector experience and if elected, I would propose that in addition to the regular board meetings, the Board should schedule separate facilities, budget and goal setting workshops timed throughout the year so that robust discussion can occur ahead of formal adoption deadlines. A separate facilities workshop would be an ideal time to discuss items such as deferred maintenance or how to finance new facilities like district pools.


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