Silbiger Defeated in School Board Re-Election Bid
By Stephen Hadland
Steve Levin, Kathy Paspalis and Susanne Robins were elected to the Culver City Unified School District Board of Education Tuesday night. Karlo Silbiger was defeated in his bid for a second term on the board.
While a surprise to many, the seeds of Silbiger's defeat may well lie in his vote not to place a bond for school facilities on Tuesday's ballot and the growing power of United Parents of Culver City (UPCC) which was formed to give parents a bigger voice in education.
All three of the winners were endorsed by the parents group, the teachers union endorsed Silbiger along with Claudia Vizcarra and Vernon Taylor. All three of the union backed candidates lost.
In what can only be described a power struggle between the teachers union and the parents group, which was formed last year after a dispute over parent-funded employees having to join the classified workers union, the UPCC now controls the board.
UPCC President Jeannine Sisnosky Stehlin stated, "We just want people on the school board who take action. We're action takers."
The teachers union endorsed Paspalis in 2009 but did not endorse in her re-election bid. Union President Dave Mielke cited unfulfilled campaign promises as the main reason the union refused to endorse her for a second term.
Robert Zirgulis, a perennial candidate for seats on both the school board and the city council fought to reopen the high school's long closed natatorium. His single issue approach failed to sway voters.
New members of the board will be sworn in on Dec. 10.
Here are the complete election results:
STEVEN MARK LEVIN 2,278 22.32
KATHY PASPALIS 2,058 20.17
SUSANNE ROBINS 1,877 18.39
KARLO SILBIGER 1,670 16.36
CLAUDIA VIZCARRA 1,218 11.94
VERNON L TAYLOR 568 5.57
ROBERT ZIRGULIS 536 5.25